Grace Hopper on Ada Lovelace Day

Grace Hopper, Inventor of the Compiler – for Ada Lovelace Day

I decided to write about Grace Hopper on Ada Lovelace Day since there’ll probably be plenty of other blogs about Ada Lovelace herself, being known as the First Lady of Computing and all that.

Grace Hopper is known as the originator of the first truly high level programming language, namely COBOL which was based on her FLOW-MATIC system. Her unique idea was that computer programs could be written in a language that was close to English rather than mathematics or machine code. COBOL came pretty close to this with long winded structures like

SUBTRACT WS70-TOTAL COSTS FROM WS80-TOTAL-INCOME GIVING WS10-BALANCE

or

PERFORM Z10-PRINT-LINE UNTIL WS40-LINES-PRINTED > WS_PAGE LENGTH

So COBOL encouraged programmers to write code that others could understand, and it also allowed programmers to get new programs up and working with a lesser number of testing iterations, which was handy when you only got one overnight testing slot per 24 hours.

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Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day

24th March 2009 is the first Ada Lovelace Day, where people are blogging about women in technology that they admire. The aim is to highlight female role models and encourage women to become leaders in technology, or maybe carve out a career in the US Military like Grace Hopper.

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One Response to Grace Hopper on Ada Lovelace Day

  1. Pingback: Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (on Ada Lovelace Day) (Gary Said...)

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