by Lafe Low

Remembering Grace Murray Hopper, Tim Berners-Lee

Jan 15, 20032 mins



Computer science pioneer Grace Murray Hopper dies in Arlington, Va., in 1992 at age 85. A Navy admiral, Hopper invented the first program compiler while working on the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University during World War II.


Time magazine’s annual “Man of the Year” is neither a man nor a woman, but a personal computer. The 1983 “Machine of the Year” issue proclaims that the new home-computer industry would dramatically change the world.


Hewlett-Packard unveils its first PC in 1980. The $3,250 HP-85 runs Basic from ROM and comes with a monitor, a built-in printer and a cassette recorder for data storage. It predates the IBM PC by 19 months.


The Presidential Task Force on Market Mechanisms concludes in 1988 that automatic trading programs were a primary cause of the 20 percent stock market plunge on Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 508 points. In February 1988, the New York Stock Exchange said it would curb the use of electronic trading systems when the Dow rose or fell more than 50 points.


“Good morning. I am a HAL 9000 computer.” That statement (voiced by actor Douglas Rain) greeted the astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL, the sentient computer that was the star of the show, is born today in 1998 in Urbana, Ill., according to the storyline by Arthur C. Clarke in the Stanley Kubrick film. The name HAL combines heuristic and algorithmic, the foundations of its programming.


Tim Berners-Lee releases a simple line-mode World Wide Web browser in 1992 that enables search queries to use hypertext markup language to locate Internet addresses or URLs. Now anyone can publish anything online.


In 1987, Digital Equipment introduces two high-powered VAX minicomputers, priced between $2.5 million and $5 million, in an assault on IBM’s dominance in financial services and insurance glass houses.


The Macintosh “1984” commercial airs on Super Bowl Sunday in 1984, in which a woman wearing a Macintosh T-shirt throws a sledgehammer into a giant screen showing a Big Brother figure talking to a mesmerized horde. The subtle message airs just once.


Texas PC maker Compaq vaults to number two in computers (behind IBM) when it buys the struggling Digital in 1998 for $9.6 billion.

Sources: www.history,,,, www.kubrickfilms.,,, Yale University Computer Science Department