Ahead of Her Time
Computer programmer Grace Hopper, born in 1906, helped to develop a precursor to the widely used COBOL language. Joining the Navy during World War II, Hopper was assigned to program the Mark I computer. She continued her pioneering work after the war, leading the team that created the first computer language compiler which led to COBOL.
As a research fellow at Harvard after the war, Hopper worked on the Mark II and Mark III computers. When a moth shorted out the Mark II, she helped to popularize the term “computer bug”. Hopper then moved into private industry, first with Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, then with Remington Rand where she oversaw programming for the UNIVAC computer.
Hopper’s work gained international attention. She was named a distinguished fellow of the British Computer Society in 1973, the first — and, at the time, only — woman to do so.
Hopper resumed active naval service at age 60, rising to the rank of rear admiral before retiring in 1986. She then returned to the classroom, where she continued to inspire students until her death in 1992.
1. How much data is analyzed a day globally?
As of 2021 less than 0.5% of world's data is analyzed and used for research, technology development and business while 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created daily.
2. Is COBOL still used?
90% of global financial transactions are processed in COBOL.
3. What does Grace Hopper have to do with bugs?
When an insect got stuck in her computer, she said that she would have to “de-bug” it. Allegedly, that’s how the term “computer bug” was invented.