Sunday, February 28, 2010

Inventing the Information Age

Kurt Beyer, Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009) is a highly readable biography of Hopper's career as an academic, businesswoman, programmer, and Naval officer. According to Beyer, her "career mirrors the rise in prominence of the programming profession" (p. 313) Using extensive, older oral histories, rich archival sources, manuals, and other materials, Beyer has given us an engaging story of the emergence of computer programming as we follow Hopper's life and her interaction with colorful personalities. While we take it for granted now about the critical role of programming, Beyer's study reveals that it followed a bumpy road.

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