Detail map of Washington, District of Columbia, United States Overview map of Washington, District of Columbia, United States

A: Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Grace Hopper Organizes the First Symposium on Software

5/13/1954 to 5/14/1954

Programmer Grace Hopper organized the first symposium strictly on software for the Office of Naval Research in Washington, D.C. It took place on May 13 and 14, 1954, and was attended by over 200 people. The published proceedings were entitled Symposium on Automatic Programming for Digital Computers (1954). (See Reading 9.6.)

Hopper ended her introduction on p. 5 with the following paragraph:

"The first time I heard of a library of submroutines was from professor Howard Aiken when Mark I started running. The earliest "relatively coded subroutine" I have found is one for sine x written in August 1944 for Mark I. However, it was necessary to wait until 1951 for a working system and a book to read, that prepared by Wheeler, Wilkes and Gill for the EDSAC. As computer development has speeded up in the last half of the first decade, let us hope that the production of automaic programming techniques, most of them less than one year old, will also speed up...."

This conference was probably the first place that programming for the new IBM 701, IBM's first stored program computer, was discussed in any detail. The last 50 pages of the proceedings concern programming for the 701, including John W. Backus and Harlan Herrick, "IBM Speedcoding and other Automatic Programming Systems."

Timeline Themes

Related Entries