From: IEEE – The Institute
Grace Murray Hopper, 1906–1992
Known for: Inventing the computer compiler and leading the development of the programming language COBOL (common business-oriented language).
Why it matters: Hopper is considered one of the founders of the information age. Her compiler, a collection of coded instructions that could be reused, saved programmers from having to write each program anew. It significantly advanced the art of programming. By the late 1970s, COBOL was the most extensively used computer language in the world.
Where she started: Hopper was a mathematics professor at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., when she joined the U.S. Navy Waves (women accepted for voluntary service) program in December 1943. She was commissioned a lieutenant the following year. She was named an IEEE Fellow in 1962 “for contributions in the field of automatic programming.”
Breakthrough: As a Navy lieutenant, she was assigned in 1944 to program the Mark I Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator at Harvard under Howard Aiken, a computing pioneer. The Mark 1, one of the first programmable computers, is an IEEE Milestone.
Its National Robotics week! https://www.nationalroboticsweek.org/
By: Rhett Jones
Pretty much everything that’s great about technology today is thanks to the microprocessor. Billions of them are manufactured every year and they are one of the many reasons you can read this fine website. But few people understand what’s going on inside that little integrated circuit. Here’s a crash course.
The fine folks at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge have a half-ton machine that blows up all of the little details happening in a microprocessor to a size that’s more easily inspected. It has been dubbed “The Megaprocessor” and its creator, James Newman, walks us through how it works in the video below.
Newman’s creation is cool enough to just admire it on its own. Using about 40,000 transistors and 10,ooo LEDs, it diagrams all of the various communications and number crunching going on inside a microprocessor in order to ultimately play a big ass game of Tetris.
To really grok the fine details, you’ll have to pay a visit to the museum itself and spend some time with The Megaprocessor. But I assure you, in a little less than seven minutes you can understand the basics of what goes on in a microprocessor well enough to fake it at a really nerdy party.
Since many of us can’t visit, I highly recommend the CCH’s Twitter account. It always has great old school gear and graphics to check out.