Two Female Programmers Win Presidential Medals of Freedom – Compuseum celebrates their leadership!

President Obama gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to 21 artists, sports figures, scientists and philanthropists on Tuesday,  in a bravura performance that had the East Wing, stuffed to capacity, laughing and whooping with appreciation.  Two of the Recipients were female computer industry leaders; our own Grace Hopper and Margaret Hamilton.

Complete listing here:

commodore_grace_m-_hopper_usn_coveredGrace Hopper (posthumous award) – Our Philly Gal

In 1949, Grace Hopper became an employee of the Eckert Mauchly Computer Corporation of Philadelphia as a senior mathematician and joined the team developing the UNIVAC I. In the early 1950s, the company was taken over by the Remington Rand corporation, and it was while she was working for them that her original compiler work was done. The compiler was known as the A compiler and its first version was A-0. In 1952 she had an operational compiler. “Nobody believed that,” she said. “I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. They told me computers could only do arithmetic.” In 1954 Hopper was named the company’s first director of automatic programming, and her department released some of the first compiler-based programming languages, including MATH-MATIC and FLOW-MATIC. COBOL.

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, known as “Amazing Grace” and the “first lady of software,” was at the forefront of computers and programming development from the 1940s through the 1980s. Hopper’s work helped make coding languages more practical and accessible, and she created the first compiler, which translates source code from one language into another. She taught mathematics as an associate professor at Vassar College before joining the United States Naval Reserve as a lieutenant (junior grade) during World War II, where she became one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and began her lifelong leadership role in the field of computer science.

For details see here:

margaret_hamilton_1995Margaret H. Hamilton

Margaret H. Hamilton led the team that created the on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo command modules and lunar modules. A mathematician and computer scientist who started her own software company, Hamilton contributed to concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling and priority displays, and human-in-the-loop decision capability, which set the foundation for modern, ultra-reliable software design and engineering.

For details see here: