Raised in New York City, I was denied early admission to Vassar College at age 16 because of low Latin test scores...but was admitted at age 17.
After getting a B.A. in mathematics and physics, I earned both a M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics at Yale, with my dissertation New Types of Irreducibility Criteria.
After starting to teach mathematics at Vassar, 1943, I asked for a leave of absence to serve in the United States Navy Reserve during WWII.
During WWII, I was assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University, working as a programmer on the Mark I computer under Howard H. Aiken.
After the war, I declined a full professorship at Vasser to continue work as a research fellow under a Navy contract.
Later, on the programming team at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (UNIVAC), I developed the first compiler for a computer programming language and conceived the idea of machine-independent programming languages...leading to the language COBOL.
My real claim to fame is my popularization of the term "debugging," after finding an actual moth that caused a computer glitch.
I retired to become a Goodwill Ambassador for Digital Equipment Corporation, giving talks on the early days of computers and programming...and often handed out 30 cm lengths of wire to illustrate a nanosecond (the distance light travels in one nanosecond).
Grace Murray Hopper (1906 – 1992)