He has two sisters, Kim and Kerri.
Hopper was born in New York City. She was the eldest of three children. At the age of seven, she decided to determine how an alarm clock worked and dismantled seven alarm clocks before her mother realized what she was doing she was then limited to one clock.
Hopper was initially rejected for early admission to Vassar College at age 16 her test scores in Latin were too lowbut she was admitted the following year. Inshe earned a Ph. She was rejected for multiple reasons. At age 34, she was too old to enlist, and her weight to height ratio was too low.
She was also denied on the basis that her job as a mathematician and mathematics professor at Vassar College was valuable to the war effort. She had to get an exemption to enlist; she was 15 pounds 6. Hopper graduated first in her class inand was assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University as a lieutenant, junior grade.
She served on the Mark I computer programming staff headed by Howard H. She continued to serve in the Navy Reserve. Hopper remained at the Harvard Computation Lab untilturning down a full professorship at Vassar in favor of working as a research fellow under a Navy contract at Harvard.
The UNIVAC was the first known large-scale electronic computer to be on the market inand was more competitive at processing information than the Mark I.
In the early s, the company was taken over by the Remington Rand corporation, and it was while she was working for them that her original compiler work was done.
The program was known as the A compiler and its first version was A She later said that "Nobody believed that," and that she "had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. They told me computers could only do arithmetic. Manipulating symbols was fine for mathematicians but it was no good for data processors who were not symbol manipulators.
Very few people are really symbol manipulators. If they are they become professional mathematicians, not data processors. So I decided data processors ought to be able to write their programs in English, and the computers would translate them into machine code. I could say "Subtract income tax from pay" instead of trying to write that in octal code or using all kinds of symbols.
COBOL is the major language used today in data processing. Hopper served as a technical consultant to the committee, and many of her former employees served on the short-term committee that defined the new language COBOL an acronym for COmmon Business-Oriented Language.
Any user on any computer node could access common databases located on the network. The Navy tests for conformance to these standards led to significant convergence among the programming language dialects of the major computer vendors.
Retirement[ edit ] Hopper being promoted to the rank of commodore in In accordance with Navy attrition regulations, Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of commander at age 60 at the end of She again retired in but was again asked to return to active duty in She was promoted to captain in by Admiral Elmo R.
Following a career that spanned more than 42 years, Admiral Hopper took mandatory retirement from the Navy on August 14, At the time of her retirement, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the United States Navy 79 years, eight months and five daysand had her retirement ceremony aboard the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy years, nine months and 23 days.
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