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Grace Murray Hopper a Computer Pioneer By: Raimundo Strauszer January 30, 2011 COMP 1631
Background December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992 Hopper is the oldest of 3 children Married to NYU professor Vincent Foster Hopper in 1930 until his death in 1945 Her curiosity as a child continue to evident in her career
Academia At 16 years old Hopper was rejected from early admissions to Vassar college Graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar in 1928 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics Grace Hopper earned her Master’s degree at Yale University in 1930 Under the direction of ØysteinOre, Hopper earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale In 1931 Hopper began teaching mathematics in Vassar, and was promoted to associated professor in 1941
Computer Career Hopper’s computer career began in July 1944 She joined the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University Hopper was the third person to join the research team of professor Howard H. Aiken During this time she worked on the MARK I computer system (and would later work on the MARK II and MARK III systems During her time employed by the Eckert-Mauchly Corporation she developed the first English language compiler During this time she also popularized the term debugging, Remington Rand Corporation in 1950
Mark I computer part 1 A computer designed by Howard H. Aiken and Grace Hopper The first of these computers was the Mark I The Mark I was made up of approximately 760,000 separate pieces and weighed 5 tons The computer was used by the U.S. Navy to perform gunnery and ballistic calculations The computer was controlled by a pre-punched paper tape and could carry out addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as well as reference to previous results. The Mark I also had subroutines for logarithms and trigonometric function Used 23 decimal place numbers
Mark I Computer part 2 Data in the Mark I was stored and counted mechanically using 3,000 decimal storage wheels, 1,400 rotary dial switches, and 500 miles of wire The machine was classified as a relay computer due to its electromagnetic relays All of its output was displayed on an electric typewriter By today’s standards the Mark I was slow, since it required between 3 to 5 seconds to perform a multiplication operation
Eckert-Mauchly Corporation Grace Hopper had conceptualized how a much wider audience could use the computer if there tools that were both programmer-friendly and application-friendly In 1949 she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in order to pursuit her vision and provide businesses with computers During her time with the company she began a pioneering effort of UNIVAC I
Compilers A compiler is a software which makes computer programming software easier to write Before computer programmers had to write programs using binary code Hopper’s compiler allowed programmers to use more human like commands to replace repetitive commands. The FLOW-MATIC was the first English language compiler She continued to work on compilers, and published her first paper on that topic in 1952
Univac/ FLOW-MATIC Hopper worked with John Eckert and John Mauchly on the Univac computer Univac I was the first large-scale electronic digital computer In order to ease their task Hopper encouraged programmers to collect and share common portions of programs In spite of having to be copied by hand, these early shared libraries of code reduced errors, tedium, and duplication of efforts By 1949 programs contained mnemonics that were transformed into binary code instructions executable by the computer
COBOL Part 1 After having worked on compilers, Hopper began to work on specifications for a common business language prior to this the FLOW-MATIC was the only existing business language
COBOL Part 2 Another important goal Hopper was related to compilers, particularly that there should be a certain standardisation. This led to the publication of COBOL in 1959 COBOL stands for Common Business-Oriented Language
Debugging In 1951 during a maintenance engineer discovered a moth stuck in one of the relays. She then pasted the “computer bug” as it is known from now on into the UNIVAC I logbook
Honors 1969 – She won the inaugural "computer sciences man of the year" award from the Data Processing Management Association. 1971 – The annual Grace Murray Hopper Award for Outstanding Young Computer Professionals was established in 1971 by the Association for Computing Machinery 1973 – She became the first person from the United States and the first woman of any nationality to be made a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society. 1986 – Upon her retirement she received the Defence Distinguished Service Medal. 1987 – She became a Computer History Museum fellow Award Recipient. 1988 – She received the Golden Gavel Award at the Toastmaster International convention in Washington, DC. 1991 – She received the National Medal of Technology. 1996 – USS Hopper (DDG-70) was launched. Nicknamed Amazing Grace, it is on a very short list of U.S. military vessels named after women. 2001 – Evan Boland wrote a poem dedicated to Grace Hopper titled "Code" in her 2001 release “Against Love Poetry" 2009 – The Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center named its flagship system "Hopper“.
Work Cited Bellis, Mary. "Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper - Inventors of the Mark I Computer." Weblog post. Inventors. 2011. Web. 29 Jan. 2011. <http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa052198.htm>. Bellis, Mary. "Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper." Inventors. Web. 01 Feb. 2011. <http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blaiken_hopper.htm>. Bois, Danuta. "Grace Murray Hopper." Women's Biographies: Distinguished Women of Past and Present. 1998. Web. 01 Feb. 2011. <http://www.distinguishedwomen.com/biographies/hopper.html>. "Grace Murray Hopper." The History of Computing Project. 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 01 Feb. 2011. <http://www.thocp.net/index.html>. Maisel, Merry, and Laura Smart. "Grace Murray Hopper: Pioneer Computer Scientist." San Diego Supercomputer Center. 1997. Web. 29 Jan. 2011. <http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/hopper.html>.