Pioneer computer scientist and Rear Admiral Grace Murray Brewster Hopper 1906-1992) was born on this day in New York City. With an MA and PhD from Yale, she taught mathematics at Vassar then joined the Navy during World War II.
"One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions," she once said.
"Amazing Grace" created the first computer compiler (1952), which translated programming code into machine language. "Nobody believed that," she said. "I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. They told me computers could only do arithmetic."
She then built Flow-Matic, the compiler for business data processing (1957). That language became the foundation for COBOL, Common Business-Oriented Language (1959-1961), the revolutionary programming language used on UNIVAC's first mass-produced commercial business computer.
"Humans are allergic to change," she observed. "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."
Hopper was the first woman to receive the prestigious National Medal of Technology in 1991. With passion and perseverance, the visionary "Grandmother of COBOL" continued to teach and explore, creating the platform for the programming languages of today.
Dare to venture out and explore!