This Mini Documentary Perfectly Encapsulates Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Programming

Grace Hopper was a pioneer, and an inspiration to female computer scientists everywhere.

A new documentary about legendary computer scientist and Navy admiral Grace Hopper is shedding light on the key roles women had in originating computers as we know them today.

Image via Creative Commons

Hopper, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 85, isn’t as well known as, say Tim Berners-Lee or Steve Jobs, but in the 1940s she was one of the groundbreaking programmers of the first computer, Harvard’s Mark I. In the ‘50s she originated the idea of machine-independent programming languages, as well as headed the team that invented the first compiler, leading to COBOL, one of the first abstract programming languages, widely used through the new millenium. Her achievements and perseverance were boundless, and she is seen as an inspiration for countless women in computer science today.

“You know, she’s like an Edison of our day. Like a Turing,” said Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States. “Yet Hopper isn’t in those names in the history books. It needs to be, and that’s one of the things we can fix.”

Gillian Jacobs (Community) directed the short film as part of FiveThirtyEight’s “Signal” series.

Watch the doc here.