back to article Grace Hopper gave us COBOL, 'debugging' and inspiration. So Google gave her a Doodle

Google has created a homepage doodle to mark the 107th anniversary of Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper's birth. A pioneering figure in the development of modern computing and programming theory, Hopper, born today in 1906, is credited with developing the programming language COBOL and working with many of the earliest computer …


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  1. Dr Stephen Jones

    A Google Doodle is now a Register story?

    I am not exactly sure what a "Rubicon" is, but whatever it is, it has been crossed.

    1. NotArghGeeCee

      Re: A Google Doodle is now a Register story?

      A "Rubicon" is river in Northern Italy that was considered the point of no return for Caesar (J)'s army a wee while ago - ironically Google is your friend for stuff like this.

      As for Google Doodles being stories on El Reg, they have crossed that rubicon a while ago, they have then done some sightseeing, picked some flowers and had a picnic - doodles have featured a number of times. One common theme for the El Reg stories on the doodles is their relationship to IT or science and, frankly, *any* means of keeping a pioneer (in so many ways) like Grace Hopper to the forefront of peoples minds is A Good Thing.

      Happy birthday RADM Hopper - may your code be bug-free in perpetuity

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Good for Google and El Reg to keep pioneers such as Rear Admiral Hopper in front of us. We could always use more Hopper types so maybe these reminders might encourage someone, somewhere.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge


      The article however misses one of her most important quotes and motos:

      You manage things, you lead people. We went overboard on management and forgot about leadership.

  3. David Schmidt

    Of inspiration and gender

    "Hopper's legacy continues to serve as an inspiration for women in the science and engineering fields."

    - and men.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Of inspiration and gender

      I was going to say exactly that.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge


    She also used to hand out packets of pepper since it takes light a picosecond to cross a pepper grain. I remember she did this on the Johnny Carson show, which goes to show just how old I am. :-(

    1. Michael Thibault

      Re: Picoseconds

      I imagine that Johnny's phone calls continue to approach zero asymptotically.

  5. Chris Miller

    Google unaccountably omitted the 600 lines of Environment Division, Data Division etc. necessary for their Cobol code to work.

    1. thegrouch

      I hate to be a pedant, but with Microfocus COBOL you can start at Working Storage section and skip all that other stuff.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        I hate to be a pedant, but with Microfocus COBOL you can start at Working Storage section and skip all that other stuff.

        With Micro Focus (two words) COBOL, you can now generally skip all the division headers, except Procedure Division when you're defining a non-property method that has parameters. Just use managed OO COBOL. Variables can be declared inline, either with the declare statement or as a phrase in some other statements, such as perform. (Curiously, you still need level numbers for class member declarations, though the only levels you can use are 1 and 77, and they have the same effect.)

        (I'd include an example, but the Reg's formatting of the pre element is still abysmal. Will they ever fix that? My guess is no.)

        COBOL's changed a bit over the years.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Creating COBOL

    Isn't this a crime against humanity?

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Creating COBOL

      That would be Windows 1.0.

  7. 0765794e08

    Women In Technology

    I’ve been wracking my brain but I can’t think of many famous female tech pioneers – there must be more than this:

    Ada Lovelace (worked with Babbage)

    Grace Hopper (thanks for reminding us Google)

    Sophie Wilson (okay, was born male but what the heck)

    Is that it?

    I’ve read several books on computing history but female names are few and far between. Were there no women at MIT Tech Square playing with the TX-0? What about the Homebrew meetings – was it all just blokes with massive sideburns? Was a single female in any way involved in the 80s microcomputer revolution (apart from Sophie)?

    1. kwhitefoot

      Re: Women In Technology

      Hedy Lamarr comes to mind.

    2. disgruntled yank

      Re: Women In Technology

      Well, Adele Goldberg, Mary Shaw, and Fran Allen, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock do come to mind.

      1. 0765794e08

        Re: Women In Technology

        Ah yes, Adele Goldberg - I remember seeing her in 'Triumph Of The Nerds' - when she reluctantly gave a demo of Smalltalk to Steve Jobs (she begrudged ‘giving away the kitchen sink’ – not without reason as Apple ultimately got more out of it than Xerox…)

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Women In Technology

      Is that it?

      No. Y'know, there are organizations devoted to the place of women in computer science and IT, like, oh, ACM-W. (I am always saddened, though not surprised, to see how many practitioners in this industry are unaware of our professional organizations. Whether you support them or not, you ought to know that they're around. They are not inconsequential.)

      I'm not singling you out, by the way; most people in computing seem to be ignorant of the history and current status of the profession. And at least you asked.

      Some other well-known1 examples:

      Anita Borg: Worked at Xerox PARC, was a famous advocate for women in computing, has been mentioned on this site

      Elaine Weyuker: Fellow (sic) of ACM, IEEE, and AT&T, author of over a hundred papers, and I think current chair of ACM-W

      Fran Allen: Turing Award recipient (first woman to win the award), first female IBM Fellow, major figure in optimizing compilers

      Ruzena Bajcsy: Big in robotics, has won various awards

      Fran Berman: ACM/IEEE Fellow, important in scientific-data processing (for many years, not just since the recent "big data" craze)

      Susan Eggers: One of the inventors of SMT, now working on FPGA programming and other close-to-the-metal stuff

      Lynn Conway (like Sophie Wilson, transgendered): CPU technologies such as VLSI and OoO execution

      Irene Greif: First female MIT PhD in CS, inventor of the Actor model of concurrent computation

      Susan Landau: ACM fellow, discovered Landau's Algorithm (named after Bob Algorithm), worked on Internet security

      And then there are the business types, like Carly Fiorina and Safra Catz. They're not "tech pioneers" in the R&D sense, but they're clearly influential.

      1Among those who know such things, I suppose. Sigh.

  8. erikj

    Admiral Hopper on the David Letterman program

    This was a nice diversion today, at least for me...

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