By JoJo Salazar
Grace Murray Hopper was a women of change. With a clock on her wall hat ran counter-clockwise, she made sure that she was always thinking ahead. She was a women who challenged the status quo. She wasn't a follower, but a leader, charting the way for new and more effective ways to solve problems and live life. She despised the reasoning of "we've always done it this way."
She was many things and accomplished a lot during her lifetime. Hopper was a computer scientist, Yale Ph.D, and US Navy Rear Admiral AND computer programmer. David Letterman coined her the "Queen of Software".
She was a trailblazer and war hero, having served after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her most notable technical contribution was pioneering the idea of automatic programming. During her time at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation as a senior mathematician, Hopper explored new ways to use the computer to code.
In 1952 she developed the first compiler called A-0. This device translated mathematical code into machine-readable code, an essential step toward the birth of modern programming languages.
A year later, she did the unthinkable and developed FLOW-Matic, the first programming language to use word commands rather than symbols.
Her contribution helped bridge the technical divide and inspired users across the world to create a community online.
Join women technologists at this years Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando Florida!
“The most important thing I've accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, 'Do you think we can do this?' I say, ‘Try it.’ And I back 'em up.” said Hopper.
Fun fact: Hopper coined the terms “bug” and “debug." One day a computer failure stumped Hopper and her team until she opened the machine and found a moth inside! Tapping the moth into her log book, she wrote, “first actual bug found.”