Google honors programming pioneer Grace Hopper with Doodle

By on December 9, 2013, 4:30 PM

Google on Monday celebrated the birthday of computer programming legend Grace Hopper with a Google Doodle. Hopper’s contributions to computer science are aplenty but she is perhaps best known for helping co-invent the Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL).

Known by some as the Grand Lady of Software, Amazing Grace and even Grandma COBOL, Hopper started her career as a math professor before joining the United States Naval Reserve in 1943. During her duty, she became the first programmer on the Navy’s Mark I computer.

After completing active duty, she joined Harvard’s faculty and worked on the Mark II and Mark III. From there, she went on to design the first large-scale computer known as UNIVAC I which you’ve probably read about in text books and the like.

But as previously mentioned, her greatest accomplishment was COBOL. This programming language made it possible for computers to respond to words instead of numbers which as you can imagine, was quite the accomplishment at the time.

Interestingly enough, Hopper is also associated with the term “computer bug.” During her time with the Mark II, she found a moth embedded in a piece of hardware inside the massive machine that was causing issues. It was removed and logged and ever since, people have referred to a computer problem as a bug.

The Doodle shows Hopper sitting next to a large mainframe computer which just happens to spell out Google. Hopper passed away in 1992 and would have been 107 years old today.




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