Who Wrote The First Computer Program?



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The first functional computer program was written by Grace Murray Hopper (1906–1992), an admiral in the United States Navy. She created a program for the Mark I computer, the first fully automatic calculator, which was developed in 1944. During the 1950s Hopper directed the work that developed one of the most widely used computer programming languages, COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language). She is also credited with coining the term bug to refer to computer program errors. The story goes that her machine had broken down, and when she looked into the problem, she discovered a dead moth in the computer. As she removed the moth, she reportedly announced that she was "debugging the machine." (Some scholars contend that the term had been used earlier by other scientists and therefore did not originate with Hopper.) Hopper served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 until 1986, and retired as its most senior officer. She was also a professor at Vassar College and a programmer for the Sperry Rand Corporation from 1959 to 1971. She is one of the pioneers of computer science.

The very first computer program ever written, though never used, was also produced by a woman. English countess Augusta Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) wrote the program for the "analytical engine," the earliest form of the computer, which was invented by Charles Babbage (1792–1871). Babbage's machine was never completed, however, so Lovelace's program was not tested.

Further Information:Ada Byron King (1815–1852). [Online] Available http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/tap/ada-lovelace.html, November 8, 2000; Baum, Joan. The Calculating Passion of Ada Byron. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1986; Billings, Charlene W. Grace Hopper: Navy Admiral and Computer Pioneer. Hillside, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 1989; "Grace Hopper." MSN Encarta. [Online] Available http://www.encarta.msn.com/find/MediaMax.asp?pg=3&ti=761563087&idx=461568028, November 8, 2000.

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It was written by Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) who is an admiral of the US Navy and she wrote a program for the Mark I computer developed in 1944 the first fully automatic calculator.

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