Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneer Navy computer...

Deaths elsewhere

January 05, 1992

Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneer Navy computer programmer and co-inventor of the business language COBOL, has died, her brother said Thursday. The 85-year-old admiral -- at the time of her retirement in 1986 the nation's oldest active-duty military officer -- died Wednesday in her Arlington, Va., home, said her brother, Roger F. Murray II of Wolfsboro, N.H. Admiral Hopper, known to her aides as "the first lady of software" and "Amazing Grace," stayed in uniform under year-to-year extensions long after the regular retirement age of 62 to work on the Navy's computer programs. Admiral Hopper, who held a doctoral degree in mathematics from Yale University, joined the Naval Reserve in December 1943. After the war, she remained in the Naval Reserve and joined a company that was building the Univac I, the first commercial, large-scale electronic computer. The company later merged into the Sperry Corp. At Sperry, she (( worked on an idea that led to COBOL, a widely used

programming language. She was also credited with coining the word "bug" to describe the problems that plague computer programs.

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