WhatfettleGrace Hopper

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, where I along with 1,633 other bloggers signed a pledge to write about a woman in technology whom I admire. Rather than single out someone contemporary I’ve decided to cite a personal hero Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper who created what is generally considered to be the first compiler, developed FLOW-MATIC later standardised as COBOL a programming language still in common use today and who popularised the term computer bug. She is also famous for cool visualisations in particular her nanoseconds, lengths of copper wire the distance light travels in a nanonsecond which she handed out to her students. What’s more she achieved all of this in a world of institutional discrimination against women and whilst working inside an authoritarian bureaucracy, which is probably why she is often attributed with the quote: “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to seek permission”. The breadth of her accomplishments led to her earning the nickname “Amazing Grace”, and I think she’s someone to admire, regardless of the gender you happen to abide in.