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"Amazing Grace"

 

Grace Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She conceptualized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term "debugging" for fixing computer glitches (motivated by an actual moth removed from the computer). Owing to the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as "Amazing Grace". The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) is named for her, as was the Cray XE6 "Hopper" supercomputer at NERSC.

Hopper was born Grace Brewster Murray in New York City. She was the oldest in a family of three children. She was curious as a child, a lifelong trait – at the age of seven she decided to determine how an alarm clock worked. She dismantled seven alarm clocks before her mother realized what she was doing; she was then limited to one clock. For her preparatory school education, she attended the Hartridge School in Plainfield, New Jersey. Rejected for early admission to Vassar College at age 16 (her test scores in Latin were too low), she was admitted the following year. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar in 1928 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics and earned her Master's degree at Yale University in 1930.

In 1934, she earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale under the direction of Øystein Ore. Her dissertation, New Types of Irreducibility Criteria, was published that same year. Hopper began teaching mathematics at Vassar in 1931, and was promoted to associate professor in 1941.

She was married to New York University professor Vincent Foster Hopper (1906–1976) from 1930 until their divorce in 1945. She never remarried, and she kept his surname

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Life Highlights

 
Military Service
Branch: United States Navy
Years of Service: 1943 - 1986
Medals Awarded: American Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal,, Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal,, National Defense Service Medal, Naval Reserve Medal, World War II Victory Medal

Memorial Wall

 
Grace Hopper was one of the most admirable women of our time. My favorite quote "Humans are allergic to change. 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." James Conrad, 06/07/2013
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Grace Hopper Celebration 2013

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