Saturday, August 10, 2019

After that, we had systems!

I was reading Matthew Squair's course materials on System Safety Fundamentals when I came across this slide:
"Life was simple before World War II. After that, we had systems."
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (USN)

You've got to smile at that witticism!

The Admiral Dr (*), of course, is credited with leading the team that developed the first linking complier that led directly to COBOL.

But she had a fierce wit
Perhaps she is best known for inventing the system "bug" when she literally found a dead bug in in an inoperative computer system.(**) She retired from the Navy at age 79 in 1986 after serving about 50 years.

About risk, she is quoted "Ships are safest in port, but that is not what ships are built for"

And, of course, she is famous for demonstrasting that a nanosecond is the time taken for electrical signals to travel about a foot. She was known to carry a bundle of 'foot-long' "nanoseconds" to her classes in computer science. Watch here for her demo.

(*) PhD, Yale, '34 Mathematics
(**) a mix of lore and truth

Buy them at any online book retailer!

1 comment:

  1. I was assigned to pick up Adm Hopper at the Orange County (CA) airport when she was speaking at an ACM meeting.
    She had gathered her bag and I reached for it.
    She stearning looked me in the eye and said "young man I am perfectly capable of carrying my our bags and have done so for decades. Let's get going"
    This talk was the first time I'd heard the nanosecond analogy as well


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