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Grace Murray Hopper

A computer science pioneer, Rear Adm. Grace Hopper was a programmer for the Hopper Harvard Mark I computer in the final years of World War II. Hopper’s long Navy career began in World War II when she joined the Navy Reserve and served in the WAVES. After working on the Mark computer programs, to include Mark II and III computers, she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in Philadelphia— the company building UNIVAC I, the first commercial electronic computer. As a senior programmer with this company, she published the first paper on compilers for programming language. Through the 1950s, she continued to publish papers on software and programming languages. She was part of the first meeting of the committee on data systems languages (CODASYL) and instrumental in the development of common business oriented language (COBOL)—a standardized computer language. Her contributions to the Navy’s computing infrastructure made her an invaluable asset to the service. After retiring from the Navy Reserve in 1966, at age 60, with the rank of commander, she was recalled and continued to serve until 1986 when she retired as a rear admiral. At the time of her retirement, at 79 years of age, she was the oldest commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. USS Hopper (DDG 70) is named in her honor. In 2020, the United States Naval Academy named its new center for cyber security Hopper Hall.

Last Updated: 29 March 2023



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