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The Programming World needs you?

This has been a very productive and interesting week, not least when I received a mail from Allison, asking for my thoughts on the graphic here and below,

If you have read my blog posts about Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, or The ENIAC “Computers” you will understand how the work of the online college is very much of the same ethos as the posts I have been making here under the Soft Footsteps series.

The intention of the Soft Footsteps blog (and the book) was to inspire people to extend themselves and make the most of their talents. The online college goes one step further by inspiring people to make “2012 their Code Year” and provides access to the educational tools that will help them improve their skill base.

This line of study certainly seems to be gaining momentum in the US and it would be interesting to find out if there is anything similar available in the UK?

Please Include Attribution to OnlineCollege.org With This Graphic Programming Infographic

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in 21st century

 

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Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper

(December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992)

One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark 1 Computer , Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was a naval officer and an American computer scientist.

Grace Murray Hopper

Grace Murray Hopper

As the first programmer of the Mark I Calculator and developer of the first compiler for a computer programming language, she was a true pioneer in the field of computing technology.

In 1949, Hopper became an employee of the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation [Eckert and Mauchly were the inventors of ENIAC] joined the team developing the UNIVAC I. The company was taken over by Remington Rand corporation, in the early 1950s. Grace Hopper’s original compiler work was achieved whilst she worked for the Remington Rand corporation. The compiler was known as the A compiler and its first version was A-0. Later versions were released commercially as the ARITH-MATIC, MATH-MATIC and FLOW-MATIC compilers.

She later returned to the Navy where she worked on validation software for the programming language COBOL and its compiler. COBOL was defined by the CODASYL committee which extended her FLOW-MATIC language with some ideas from the IBM equivalent, the COMTRAN.

Programming languages at that time were in machine code or languages close to machine code (such as assembly language). It was Grace Hopper’s idea that programmes could be written in a language that was closer to English and more intuitive.

In the 1970s, she pioneered the implementation of standards testing of computers, most significantly for programming languages, particularly for COBOL and the original FORTRAN language, (Formula Translator/Translation, today known as Fortran). The Navy Tests for conformance to these language standards led to significant convergence among the programming language dialects of the major computer vendors. These tests, and their official administration, were taken over in the 1980s by the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST.

Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Commander at the end of 1966. She was recalled to active duty in August of 1967 for a six-month period that turned into an indefinite assignment. She again retired in 1971 but was asked to return to active duty again in 1972. She was promoted to Captain in 1973 by Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr..

After Rep. Philip Crane saw her on a March 1983 segment of 60 Minutes, he championed a joint resolution in the House of Representatives which led to her promotion to Commodore by special Presidential appointment. By 1985 she became a Rear Admiral, Lower Half. She retired (involuntarily) from the Navy on August 14, 1986. At a celebration held in Boston on the USS Constitution to celebrate her retirement, Hopper was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award possible by the Department of Defense. At the moment of her retirement, she was the oldest officer in the US Navy and aboard the oldest ship in the US Navy.

She was then hired as a senior consultant to Digital Equipment Corporation, a position she retained until her death in 1992, aged 85.

Grace Hopper

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

Her primary activity in this capacity was as a Goodwill Ambassador, lecturing widely on the early days of computers, her career, and on efforts that computer vendors could take to make life easier for their users. She visited a large fraction of Digital engineering facilities where she generally received a standing ovation at the conclusion of her remarks. She always wore her Navy full dress uniform to these lectures. She was laid to rest with full military honours in Arlington National Cemetery.

Honours List

  • 1969, she won the first “man of the year” award from the Data Processing Management Association.

  • 1971, the annual “Grace Murray Hopper Award for Outstanding Young Computer Professionals” was established by the Association for Computing Machinery.

  • 1973, she became the first person from the United States and the first woman of any nationality to be made a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society.

  • 1986, upon her retirement she received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

  • 1987, she became a Computer History Museum Fellow Award Recipient.

  • 1988, she received the Golden Gavel Award at the Toastmasters International convention in Washington, DC.

  • 1991, she received the National Medal of Technology.

  • 1996, USS Hopper (DDG-70) was launched. Nicknamed Amazing Grace, it is on a very short list of U.S. military vessels named after women.

  • The Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center is located at 7 Grace Hopper Avenue in Monterey, California.

  • Grace Murray Hopper Park, located on South Joyce Street in Arlington, Virginia, is a small memorial park in front of her former residence (River House Apartments) and is now owned by Arlington County, Virginia.

  • Women at the world’s largest software company, Microsoft Corporation, formed an employee group called “Hoppers” and established a scholarship in her honour. Hoppers has over 3000 members worldwide.

  • Brewster Academy, a school located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, USA, dedicated their computer lab to her in 1985, calling it the Grace Murray Hopper Center for Computer Learning. Hopper had spent her childhood summers at a family home in Wolfeboro.

  • An administration building on Naval Support Activity Annapolis (Previously known as Naval Station Annapolis) in Annapolis, Maryland is named “The Grace Hopper Building” in her honour.

Legal bit
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Soft Footsteps

 

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The ENIAC “Computers” Part 2

This post will look at the work of Jean Bartik, Betty Holberton, Marlyn Meltzer, Frances Spence and Ruth Teitelbaum on the ENIAC computer,

Jean Bartik

Betty Jean Jennings is on the left of this picture

Born Betty Jean Jennings in Gentry County, Missouri in 1924 and attended Northwest Missouri State Teachers College, majoring in mathematics. In 1945, she was hired by the University of Pennsylvania to work for Army Ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Ground. When the ENIAC computer was developed for the purpose of calculating ballistics trajectories, she was selected to be one of its first programmers. Bartik later became part of a group charged with converting the ENIAC into a stored program computer; in the original implementation,

She went on to work on the BINAC and UNIVAC I computers. Jean Jennings Bartik was a friend for over 60 years with Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli. John Mauchly walked Jean down the aisle when she married and it was at Jean’s wedding reception that John had the courage to approach Kay about dating. Jean Jennings Bartik has a museum in her name at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri. The museum boasts rare one-of-a-kind ENIAC, BINAC and UNIVAC exhibits, including an original salesman pot-metal model of the UNIVAC I.

Betty Holberton

Born Frances Elizabeth Snyder in Philadelphia in 1917. She studied at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in English and journalism, although she had excelled in mathematics during high school. She was hired by the Moore School of Engineering during World War II to compute ballistics trajectories and was selected as one of the programmers for the ENIAC computer which was designed to perform these calculations electronically.

She was the inventor of the mnemonic instruction set (called C-10) for the BINAC, which Grace Hopper [who is also featured in this section] described as “the basis for all subsequent programming languages.” It has been said that in creating this, she started the movement away from switch assemblies and towards keyboards as the primary input device for computers.

 She also wrote the first generative programming system (SORT/MERGE), and the first statistical analysis package (for the 1950 US Census). She participated in the early standards development for the COBOL and Fortran programming languages.

 She was the person who suggested grey as the colour for UNIVAC computers (rather than black as it was at the time).

 In 1997 she received the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award, which is the highest honour possible for a computer programmer and she was also inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame, along with the other original ENIAC programmers

Marlyn Meltzer

Born Marlyn Wescoff graduated from Temple University in 1942. She was hired by the Moore School of Engineering later that year to perform weather calculations, mainly because she knew how to operate an adding machine.

In 1943, she was hired to perform calculations for ballistics trajectories and in 1945, she was selected to become one of the first group of ENIAC programmers. She resigned from the team in 1947 to get married before ENIAC was relocated to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

Frances Spence

Born Frances Bilas in Philadelphia in 1922, Fran attended Temple University but then was awarded a scholarship to Chestnut Hill College. She majored in mathematics with a minor in physics and graduated in 1942. While there, she met Kathleen McNulty, who also later became an ENIAC programmer. McNulty and Spence were hired by the Moore School of Engineering to compute ballistics trajectories. Both were selected to become part of the first group of programmers for the ENIAC, which was designed to perform the same calculations. In 1947, she married Homer Spence, an Army electrical engineer from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds who had been assigned to the ENIAC project and later became head of the Computer Research Branch. Shortly after that, she resigned to raise a family.

Ruth Teitelbaum

(née Lichterman) (1924 – 1986, Dallas)

Teitelbaum graduated from Hunter College with a B.Sc. in Mathematics. She was hired by the Moore School of Engineering to compute ballistics trajectories and was later selected as one of the first programmers for the ENIAC.. She travelled with ENIAC to the Ballistics Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds where she remained for two more years to train the next group of ENIAC programmers. She died in Dallas, Texas in 1986.

Sign outside University of Pennsylvania

Sign outside University of Pennsylvania

 This generation of ‘computers’ and their hard work and dedication proved the ideas and was the signal that gave rise to the birth of the Information Age. A testament to this significant achievement is proudly displayed outside of the University of Pennsylvania. But, without the work of the dedicated programmers – Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman – this step into the future of information technology would not have happened

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In 1969 our next technological, historical pioneer won the first “man of the year” award from the Data Processing

Grace Hopper

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

Management Association and in 1973, she became the first person from the United States and the first woman of any nationality to be made a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

Legal bit
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors.  Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners.  Copyright : Maggie Baldry

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Soft Footsteps

 

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