This was a banner week for women programmers to be recognized for their contributions to science: The Medal of Freedom was awarded posthumously to “Amazing Grace” Hopper by President Obama.
Grace Hopper is an inspiration to all of us women programmers. She wrote software codes when there was barely a true “computer” to use it on. She started in the 1940s and continued contributing to the field for four decades. Beyond her ability to inspire women who follow in her large coding footsteps, her crowning glory was probably the achievement of creating the very first computer compiler which translates codes from one language to another (often closer to machine code). She was a computer scientist before the term existed. She taught mathematics at Vasser College. She joined the Naval Reserve in WW II and gained the rank of rear Admiral. She was a research scientist at Harvard. Last week she was awarded the Medal of Freedom posthumously by President Obama; sadly she died in 1992. The Anita Borg Institute runs an annual Grace Hopper conference as a “celebration of women in computing” which has become the world’s largest gathering of women in technology.