Grace Murray Hopper

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Grace Murray Hopper

Amazing Grace

Grace Murray was born in New York in 1906. As a child, she loved to take clocks apart to see how they worked. She had a talent for mathematics and was always the first in her class at school, high school and at Yale University, where she earneda scholarship to do her PhD studies.

She joined the Armed Forces in World War II. During the war, she worked at Harvard on a Computing Project, led by Commander Howard Aiken, to build Mark I, the first electromechanical computer. It had 760,000 cogs and 800 kilometres of electric cable.

After the war she worked on developing other computers (BINAC and UNIVAC I) and the first data compiler and processor (FLOW-MATIC) in history. The first computers were very large machines, nothing like our laptops. The woman, known to her friends as “Amazing Grace”, was eighty-four years old when she retired.