FiveThirtyEightLife posted this great video directed Gillian Jacobs – check it out here!
You probably don’t know the name Grace Hopper, but you should.
As a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, Hopper worked on the first computer, the Harvard Mark 1. And she headed the team that created the first compiler, which led to the creation of COBOL, a programming language that by the year 2000 accounted for 70 percent of all actively used code. Passing away in 1992, she left behind an inimitable legacy as a brilliant programmer and pioneering woman in male-dominated fields.
Hopper’s story is told in “The Queen of Code,” directed by Gillian Jacobs (of “Community” fame). It’s the latest film in FiveThirtyEight’s “Signals” series.
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Firstly, I will state for the record that I hold Grace Hopper in the highest regard and I agree that her contributions to the field of computing and to the world at large are sorely under valued, celebrated and publicised. With that statement in mind none of the following comments are intended in any way to detract from her achievements or body of work (or violate the “be excellent to each other” policy :), however:
1) The Harvard Mk1 was definitely not the first computer: that was probably Charles Babbage’s Difference engine in 1822. It is debatable as to whether it was even the first digital computer (other contenders include the Colossus, Atanasoff–Berry or even ENIAC).
2) What is the source for the claim “…that by the year 2000 [COBOL] accounted for 70 percent of all actively used code”? I will most definitely stand corrected but I would have thought that C or even BASIC had/have a greater footprint that COBOL.