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Grace Murray Hopper: Laziness is the Mother of Invention

[ photo: Grace Murray Hopper ]

Laziness is the Mother of Invention

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper '28 is best known for the invention of the compiler, "the intermediate program that translates English language instructions into the language of the target computer. She did this, she said, because she was lazy and hoped that 'the programmer may return to being a mathematician.' Her work embodied or foreshadowed enormous numbers of developments that are now the bones of digital computing: subroutines, formula translation, relative addressing, the linking loader, code optimization, and even symbolic manipulation of the kind embodied in Mathematica and Maple."

San Diego Supercomputer Center,
Photo credit: Archives and Special Collections