This week, President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to some very deserving people. Mostly in the news, all you heard about were the Hollywood celebrities and musical artists, but I’ll bet the news never mentioned Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. Admiral Hopper was a fundamental contributor in the early days of computing, one of the first software programmers on the Mark 1 computer at Harvard and is credited with coining the term “bug”. She was one of the first advocates for machine independent programming languages contributing heavily to the creation and development of the COBOL programming language.
Admiral Hopper received her award posthumously as she passed away on January 1st, 1992. In her wake, she left a bustling computer industry, and a world so much better off for her presence in it.
I had the very great pleasure of meeting Admiral Hopper when I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation. She was a senior consultant for the company and was lively, interesting and a true delight to meet. I used to have one of her nanoseconds but I’ve lost it across the years since then. I, for one, will never forget her!
Below is a YouTube video of her appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Enjoy!