Grace Hopper

Born: December 9, 1906, in New York City

Died: January 1, 1992.

Major Academic events: Grace Hopper graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College in 1928 with degrees in mathematics and physics. In addition to pursuing her doctorate at Vassar, Hopper earned her master's degree in mathematics from Yale. In 1934, she earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale. In her one-year sabbatical from Vassar, Hopper studied with the famous mathematician Richard Courant at New York University. After receiving her commission (lieutenant junior grade), Hopper was assigned to Harvard's Bureau of Ships Computation Project.

What she did for computer science: There, she worked on the IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (MARK I), the first electromechanical computer in the United States. In addition to computing rocket trajectories, creating range tables for new anti-aircraft guns, and calibrating minesweepers, Hopper and her colleagues worked under Howard Aiken, who had developed the MARK I. In addition to writing the MARK I's user manual, Hopper was one of the first three "coders" (now known as programmers).

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