Grace Hopper

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Grace HopperName: Grace Murray Hopper

Born: December 9, 1906, New York City, USA

Death: January 1, 1992 (Age: 85)

Computer-related contributions

  • American computer scientist and United States Navy officer.
  • One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language.
  • Erroneously credited as coining the term: "bug".
  • Extended the meaning of debug.
  • Lead the team that invented COBOL and often referred to as the mother of COBOL.
  • Part of the team that helped develop the UNIVAC I.

Honors and awards

  • In 2016 Grace Hopper was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • USS Hopper (DDG-70) was launched. Nicknamed Amazing Grace, it is on a very short list of U.S. military vessels named after women (1996).
  • Awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1991.
  • Computer History Museum Fellow Award Recipient (1987).
  • The first woman to return to active duty after the United States Navy was unable to develop a working payroll plan after 823 attempts.
  • Grace Hopper was recalled from retirement to help standardize the high-level Naval computer languages.
  • Because of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as "Amazing Grace."


"Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, 'We've always done it this way.' I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise."

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