Friday, August 23, 2013

Grace Hopper on Programmers and Programming

I've started to read "Show Stopper!" and it has an excellent part in the first chapter about Grace Hopper, who created the first compiler that basically created the jobs that modern programmers perform:
"Hopper was convinced that overcoming the difficulties posed by proliferating computer languages would rank among the greatest technical challenges of the future. "To me programming is more than an important practical art," she said in a lecture in 1961. "It is also a gigantic undertaking in the foundations of knowledge." Ironically, she fretted that the greatest barrier to progress might come from programmers themselves. Like converts to a new religion, they often displayed a destructive closed-mindedness bordering on zealotry. "Programmers are a very curious group," she observed. 
They arose very quickly, became a profession very rapidly, and were all too soon infected with a certain amount of resistance to change. The very programmers whom I have heard almost castigate a customer because he would not change his system of doing business are the same people who at times walk into my office and say, "But we have always done it this way." It is for this reason that I now have a counterclockwise clock hanging in my office."
I would love to know what the name of the lecture was and if there were any transcripts or copies of it around.
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