Grace Hopper & Hopper A.I.

Grace Hopper

Compilers? Bugs? Who is grace hopper?

We’ve heard of Alan Turing, Edsger Dijkstra, and Allen Newell. But, who is Grace Hopper and how did she inspire Hopper A.I.? 

Grace Hopper was always naturally curious–at the tender age of seven, she was already dismantling several clocks (until her mother found out, and restricted her to one). Fueled with a passion for learning, she applied to Vassar College when she was sixteen. Initially rejected because of her poor Latin scores, she was accepted the next year and received a B.S. in mathematics and physics. Afterwards, Grace attended Yale University and received her P.h.D in mathematical physics.  

hopper-plate

Following her grandfather’s footsteps, Hopper decided to enlist in the Navy at the beginning of World War II. However, she was rejected for various reasons, including her age (34), her height-weight ratio, and the Navy’s determination that her skills as a mathematician were not valuable to the war effort. 

However, this did not stop Grace Hopper. 

To serve her country, Hopper decided to join WAVES and the United States Nation Navy Reserve, and continued to do so until her retirement. In fact, Hopper retired at the age of 79, making her the oldest serving officer in the United States. She achieved the rank of Rear Admiral by the end of her career. 

“Known as irreverent, sharp-tongued, and brilliant, she enjoyed long and influential careers in both the U.S. Navy and the private sector.”

After the war, Hopper was presented will a full professorship from her Alma Mater, Vassar College, but turned down the offer in order to continue being a research fellow in applied physics at Harvard. At Harvard, she contributed to the development of the Mark II and Mark III computers under Navy contracts, as well as coined one of the most dreaded words amongst computer scientists–bugs. 

In 1945, Hopper and her colleagues encountered a problem with Mark II. They decided to take the computer apart and found a large moth–solidifying the computer science colloquialism. 

“I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. They told me computers could only do arithmetic.”

In 1952, Hopper was based in Philadelphia and worked as the head programmer for Remington Road. There, she worked in the UNIVAC I and developed the first complier for a computer. This was the beginning of the computer languages as we know them, and one of the largest contributors to the world as we know it. 

Hosta Labs in inspired by Grace Hopper’s perseverance, intelligence, and accomplishments. We named our Hopper A.I. solution after her as a way to honor her and her memory.