Not only a pioneer in the field of computer programming, Grace Hopper was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the US Navy at the time of her retirement. While serving in the Navy Reserves, Hopper was one of the original programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and is credited with developing the first compiler for a computer programming language. Hopper’s accomplishments include working on the programming language that would eventually lead to the development COBOL.
Google’s logo in honor of Grace Hopper shows the computer scientist at work on the Harvard Mark I computer, programming it to deliver her age as of today, 107 years.
Born January 1, 1906 in New York City, Hopper received her Bachelor’s Degree from Vassar in 1928. She went on to Yale to earn her Masters in 1930 and her PhD in 1934. Hopper was teaching mathematics at Vassar in 1943 when she requested a leave of absence to enlist in the US Navy Reserve during World War II. She served as a lieutenant for the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University.
Hopper’s Navy Reserves career would continue beyond the WWII, working as a research fellow. She would be promoted to Commodore, and later named a Rear Admiral. Upon her retirement in 1986 at the age of 79, Hopper was honored with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
Along with Grace Hopper’s logo, Google is helping promote the Hour of Code, an educational initiative developed by Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), with a mission to get K-12 students more involved in computer sciences.
According to CSEdWeek’s website, this is the first time the program is being produced by Code.org and held in recognition of Grace Hopper’s birthday. To raise awareness, Code.org released the following Power of Code video: