US Navy Rear Admiral Grace Brewster Hopper (1906 to 1992), née Grace Brewster Murray.

Hopper is believed to have conceived the concept of the compiler with the A-0 in 1952. She also developed the first commercial high-level language, which eventually evolved into COBOL. She worked on the Mark I computer with Howard Aiken and with BINAC in 1949.

She is credited with having coined the term "debug", and the adage "it is always easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission" (with various wordings), which has been the guiding principle in sysadmin decisions ever since.

See also: the entries debug and bug.

Hopper is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1994, the US Navy named a new ship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper, after her.

(01 Apr 1999)