Grace Hopper: biography, contribution to science

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Grace Hopper: biography, contribution to science
Grace Hopper: biography, contribution to science

A mathematician, an innovator, a scientist and the only woman who managed to pass for the oldest officer in the history of the US Navy - such was Grace Murray Hopper. A brief biography of her will be presented to your attention below. Few women managed to pave the way for the fleet, and even more so to receive so many titles and awards. Hopper did it all. She retired on August 14, 1986 at the age of 79.

In addition to her achievements in the military field, Hopper also became famous for her inventions in the computer industry. She was also a co-author of UNIVAC-1, the first ever commercial automated computer, one of the creators of the COBOL programming language, an innovator in the development of the latest computer technologies, and also became an outstanding mathematician.

Meet Grace Hopper

grace hopper

Hopper was a very versatile person. As a student at Vassar College of the Arts, where she later taught mathematics, Grace Hopper graduated with a bachelor's degree. Some time later, she already receives a master's degree from Yale University, and four years later - a Ph.D. BUTalready in 1943, she was enlisted in the active reserve of the navy. A year later, she was awarded a lieutenant and invited for further cooperation to Harvard University, where she subsequently began work on the first Mark-1 electronic computer.

Creator of the compiler

grace hopper photo

Also in 1949, she took part in the design and construction of a computer called "UNIVAC-1" in the company of Eckert and Mauchly. Grace Hopper was the first to come up with the idea of ​​organizing programs from successive sequences of instructions called subroutines. Her contribution to science is invaluable. In addition, she was also involved in the development of the first compiler program in history. She was able to find subroutines in the repository and use them to create a ready-made program in a binary code system that a computer would understand.

Grace Hopper continued with the company after its merger with Remington Rand in 1951 and Sperry Rand Corporation in 1955.

The following year, under her leadership, the department releases the first commercial program that performs compilation - Flow-Matic.

A little later, she decides to quit the service, however, the next year the work reminds of itself again. Gray is being called back to standardize the naval computer programming language.

She retired in 1986 as an active officer in the Navy. Grace dies on January 1, 1992 in Arlington, StateVirginia.

From teachers to sailors

grace hopper biography

A woman on a ship is in trouble. So the well-known saying goes, but the famous Grace Hopper managed to refute this judgment. She succeeded in earning the recognition of her comrades in the fleet, and to receive the rank of lieutenant in the US Navy.

Grace explained her desire to step aboard the ship by heredity. Her grandfather served as a Rear Admiral of the Navy, and joining the army was a matter of course for her.

The first attempt to get into the service turned out to be a failure. Due to her pronounced thinness and age, and Grace was then already 37 years old, she was refused. But Hopper did not show the habit of giving up, and the second time she was nevertheless taken to the fleet, having been sent to undergo training at the midshipman school. She completed this course with excellent marks, being known as the best graduate of the school.

Within the walls of Harvard

In wartime, the army was in dire need of new achievements. But the complexity of the calculations prevented scientists from realizing their ideas. It was a very painful and dreary process that took a lot of time and effort. It was then that the idea came to create automated electronic computers, which were the direct ancestors of today's computers.

Harvard University has become the epicenter for the development of accepted projects. It was here, under the supervision of Howard Aiken and together with IBM, that the first computer in the history of the United States was developed under the name "Mark-1", in which a lot of money was invested. This car couldexecute three addition or subtraction commands simultaneously per second. Such a result was rightfully considered worthy for that time. "Mark-1" overnight replaced the long and painstaking work of more than twenty operators, which could not but positively affect productivity.

Harvard hardened Grace Hopper. A great responsibility fell on her shoulders, because the future of the country depended on the quality and timeliness of the implemented developments. She was not just a specialist in the development of electronic computers, but an innovator in the field of information technology.

Life in a "civilian"

grace hopper contribution to science

1946 was a turning point for Hopper. Due to her age, she was transferred by the leadership to the fleet reserve and practically removed from the military service, which she had been striving for so long. This was a real shock for Grace and did not have the best effect on psychological he alth. Hopper made attempts to find peace in alcohol, for which she was even repeatedly detained by the police for being drunk. Nevertheless, she managed to say goodbye to this addiction and get back to work with renewed vigor.

A strong-willed woman, able to pull herself together, despite the circumstances, such was Grace Murray Hopper. Its main inventions - the development of a compiler and the creation of one of the oldest programming languages ​​COBOL, fall just at this time. After all, it is thanks to it that modern computers are able to understand multi-level programming languages, morehuman-readable than machine code.

A place in history

grace hopper short biography

The first who turned the computer from a huge computer into something more capable of solving many problems at the same time was a pioneer in the field of the computer industry - Grace Hopper. A photo of the first computer, which was an impressive calculator, made headlines in the then mass media.

Grace believed that it was necessary to “converse” with a computer not through zeros and ones, but with the help of the English language. She was able to defend her ideas with a fight, in the truest sense of the word. She had to radically change the prevailing views on the nature of electronic computers, which was not possible for everyone. A sharp and inquisitive mind, knowledge of his business eventually helped Hopper convince her colleagues that she was right.

After leaving the service, Grace took part in computer development more than once, as one of the most respected specialists in the scientific community. In 1959, she was asked to help standardize the Navy's COBOL programming language. Despite such significant merits in the field of computer technology, Grace never surrounded herself with a halo of fame, considering her success to be just a fluke.

Return as a researcher

grace murray hopper short biography

After her suspension from service, in 1966, Grace was appointed leader of a research group to solve pressing problems in the field of languagesprogramming. Despite her no longer young age, Grace immediately set to work. She was ready to spend days and nights there. Such was this great woman - Grace Hopper. A brief biography of her formation in the military field cannot but impress. And the number of inventions will not leave anyone indifferent - in the field of computer technology, she had no equal. As part of the research team, she continued to actively standardize COBOL.


She resigned in 1986 as a rear admiral like her grandfather. She was often approached for advice by active sailors and businessmen in the field of programming languages. She devoted the last years of her bright life to educational activities, making presentations at the university. She easily managed to earn the trust of the young public and actually become an idol in the face of young people. Hopper worked for the benefit of society in the future, was known as a bright innovator in her field and received many awards. The most valuable reward that life had in store for her, Grace considered the service in the Navy.

In conclusion

grace murray hopper major inventions

She was rightly called the "mother" of computer technology. On January 1, 1992, the famous female sailor, Grace Hopper, who received many awards and public recognition, left this world. Her biography is impressive, delights. She was often approached as an adviser by the current Navy leadership, which can rightly be proud of "Amazing Grace", after which the destroyer USS was named.Hopper and the super powerful computer of the Department of Energy. For many, to this day, she is an idol and a role model.

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