Grace Hopper – “Amazing Grace,” Queen of Software
Grace Hopper was a computer scientist, Yale Ph.D, and United States Navy Rear Admiral who also—on top of everything else—helped pioneer computer programming. “Humans are allergic to change,” she once said. “They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.”
In 1945, after 10 years of teaching, Hopper joined a new volunteer branch of the Navy known as WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). At just 105 pounds, she was 15 pounds below that Navy minimum weight and had to receive a special exemption.
During her illustrious career, Hopper worked on UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer produced in the U.S., and created the first compiler. She is also credited with coining the term “computer bug” when she found a real moth inside the massive UNIVAC I.
If that wasn’t enough, Hopper also invented FLOW-MATIC, the first English-like data processing language, which helped spark the development of COBOL, which eventually became the Navy’s standard operating language.
Late-night show host David Letterman once asked Hopper, “You know you’re the Queen of Software, right?”
She replied: “More or less.”
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