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Naval Academy to name its cyber building after woman who helped shape computer age

New building at the Naval Academy will be first at the nation's elite military schools to bear a woman's name.

The Naval Academy's new cybersecurity building will be named after Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, a computing pioneer who helped lay the foundations digital age through her work in the Navy during World War II.

The $106 million building will be the first at any of the three military academies to be named for a woman. Vice Adm. Ted Carter, the superintendent of the Naval Academy, announced the name at an event marking four decades of female students being admitted to the elite school in Annapolis.

"Admiral Hopper's foresight in computing and pioneering contributions to cyber security, memorialized in 'Hopper Hall,' will inspire midshipmen, support their technical and professional development, and serve as a role model to encourage midshipmen ingenuity and determination for many years to come," Carter said in a statement.

Hopper was born in New York in 1906. She got a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale and taught at Vassar College before joining the Navy during the war. She was assigned to work on Harvard's Mark I computer and throughout a career in the military, academia and private business she worked on ways to make it easier to program computers.

In 1952, Hopper developed the first compiler, which turned programs intelligible to humans into code interpretable by a machine. Hopper died in 1992.

All midshipmen at the Naval Academy are now required to take cybersecurity classes, learning how to defend the data on Navy computers. The new building will be a home for the academy's computer security research and teaching and will include specialized facilities for handling classified information.

"This will be a state-of-the-art facility where our very best and brightest will get cutting edge training and education in the cyber field," Carter said.

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