Monday, February 20, 2017

Hats off to Hopper!

As I learn more about the history of computing, I'm realizing that many, and maybe most, of the pivotal contributions  have come from women.

For example, Ada Lovelace, is credited with developing the first algorithm during her work on Babbage's Analytical Engine.

Today, I learned a little more about Grace Hopper. (The image is from Wikipedia.) As well as developing COBOL (one of the first languages I remember hearing about), I now realize that Rear Admiral Hopper wrote the first compiler.

I consider myself to be a semi-competent and a fairly experienced scientific programmer and I have a hand-waving knowledge of many aspects of 'computer-stuff'. However, I have not the faintest inkling of how I would go about making a compiler.

Hats off to Hopper!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

MATLAB, St. Andrews, and the evolution of culture

Here are two facts:
  1. I grew up near St Andrews in Scotland
  2. I use MATLAB a lot
Any blog that combines these points must be interesting, so I was excited to learn that biologists at the University of St. Andrews are running a MATLAB programming contest in order to measure how a culture evolves.