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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Grace Hopper was born 100 years ago today

The modern world owes more to this fine lady that it will probably ever realize...

Today is the 100th birthday of Grace Hopper: Rear Admiral of the United States Navy and computer science pioneer. Hopper was the first person to come up with a compiled computer program (as opposed to a program that's executed line by line). She was also instrumental in creating the COBOL programming language (which is still used in a lot of business applications today) and perhaps most famous of all, it was Grace Hopper who made the terms "computer bug" and "debugging" a regular part of computer jargon. One day an insect flew into a relay on the Mark II computer that she was one of the top researchers on. The bug caused the machine to start making mistakes. Hopper found the insect, taped it into a notebook and recorded it as the first "bug" found in a computer. Her work with computers would later make her the focus of a story on 60 Minutes and landed her appearances on The Tonight Show and David Letterman, who she wowed with her famous "nanoseconds" visual aid (a foot-long piece of wire that was the length that a signal would travel in one billionth of a second).

The above photo was taken in 1984. Admiral Hopper passed away in 1992... but the legacy she has left us through her work with computers will no doubt be with us for many generations yet to come.

So in honor of her memory: Happy Birthday Grace Hopper!


Amazingly Fit!!! said...

Not to be rude, but there is a typo on your post. The typo is "This modern world owes more to this fine lady that it will probably ever realize." and it should be "This modern world owes more to this fine lady than it will probably ever realize." May you please correct the typo so that I may use that quote in a paper I'm doing because I'm using your post for my paper and I want to be able to put the quote without the typo in it because I don't want to get marked off for incorrect spelling. By the way, I love Grace Hopper and she's my heroine because she really did a lot of amazing stuff.