Hopper, Grace Murray


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Hopper, Grace Murray

(1906–92) mathematician, computer programmer, naval officer; born in New York City. She graduated from Vassar College and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics at Yale, then taught math at Vassar. She joined the navy in 1943 and was assigned in 1944 to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard where she wrote programs for the Mark I computer. In 1949 she joined Eckert-Mauchly Corporation where she helped design UNIVAC I. In the 1950s she developed a high-level language, FLOWMATIC, with which she wrote the first COBOL compiler. She helped standardize COBOL. Known as a combative, unorthodox personality, she retired from the navy reserve in 1966, but returned the following year as a rear admiral to oversee the navy computer programs.