John Markoff, _The New York Times_, 1/3/92, C16

Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper, retired, a mathematician and pioneer in data 
processing who was a legendary figure among both computer scientists and 
industry executives, died New Year's Day at her home in Arlington, Va. 

Admiral Hopper, who was 85 years old, had been in ill health recently, family 
members said, and died in her sleep, apparently of natural causes. 

She had been in the navy, as an active-duty officer or reservist, since World 
War II, and received a special Presidential appointment to the rank of rear 
admiral in 1983.  In 1982, with the retirement of Adm. Hyman J. Rickover, 
Admiral Hopper became the oldest officer on active duty in the armed service, 
which she remained until retiring herself in 1986. 

Admiral Hopper made several vital contributions to the development of modern 
computing systems, including helping invent the COBOL programming language, 
which is still in widespread use in business. 

In September, President George Bush awarded her the National Medal of 
Technology "for her pioneering accomplishments in the development of computer 
programming languages that simplified computer technology and opened the door 
to a significantly larger universe of users."  She was the first woman to 
receive the award individually. 

At the time of her death she was a senior consultant to the Digital Equipment 
Corporation.  She joined Digital in 1986, shortly after her retirement from 
the Nary. 

"Grace took every opportunity to challenge people young and old to consider 
the infinite possibilities of technology," said Kenneth H. Olsen, Digital 
Equipment's president. 

Admiral Hopper was born Grace Brewster Murray on Dec. 9, 1906, in New York 
City.  After receiving a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale, she taught math at 
Vassar College, her alma mater, where she later became an associate professor. 
She was divorced in 1945 but kept her married name. 

In 1949 she worked as a mathematician at the Eckert-Mauchly Corporation.  The 
company was formed by Dr. John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert, who in 1946 
had developed one of the world's first electronic computers, ENIAC, at the 
University of Pennsylvania.  Eckert-Mauchly was then building the Univac I, 
the first commercial electronic computer.  The company was later bought by the 
Remington Rand Corporation. 

Earlier, in 1943, Dr. Hopper had joined the Navy.  As a lieutenant assigned to 
the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University, she worked 
as a programmer on a calculating device called the Mark I, a precursor to 
electronic computers. 

Leaving the Navy in 1946, she remained at Harvard as a faculty member in the 
computation laboratory.  She continued to work on early Navy computers and 
maintained her Naval career as a reservist.  Although retired from the Navy 
reserve in 1966, then-commander Hopper was recalled within a year to active 
duty to oversee a program to standardize the Navy's computer programs and 

In 1962, she was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and 
Electronic Engineers.  In 1969, the Data Processing Management Association 
selected her as its first computer sciences "Man of the Year." 

Her work led to the first practical compiler for modern computers.  A compiler 
is a program that translates instructions written by a human programmer into 
more specific codes that can be directly read by a computer. 

Among her many contributions, Admiral Hopper is known for coining the term 
"bug," which is widely used to refer to mysterious computer failures. 

The first bug actually was -- a moth, as Admiral Hopper told the story.  It 
was discovered one August night at Harvard in 1945 inside the Mark I. 

"Things were going badly, there was something wrong in one of the circuits of 
the long, glass-enclosed computer," she is quoted as saying.  "Finally, 
someone located the trouble spot and, using ordinary tweezers, removed the 
problem, a two-inch moth.  From then on, when anything went wrong with a 
computer, we said it had bugs in it." 

A self-described "boat-rocker," she once said in a speech that she hoped to 
live until the year 2000.  "I have two reasons," she said.  "The first is that 
the party on Dec. 31, 1999, will be a New Year's Eve party to end all New 
Year's Eve parties.  The second is that I want to point back to the early days 
of computers and say to all the doubters, 'See?  We told you the computer 
could do all that.'" 

She is survived by a brother, Dr. Roger F. Murray II of New Hampshire, and a 
sister, Mary Murray Westcote of New Jersey.