What joy

So, there was this bloke who worked in Bath as a software engineer, engineer type in a local company which happened to be one of the world leading ones to do with undersea and North Sea engineering. Oil platforms and the like. Not quite sure why the location, could be the Admiralty engineering peeps strewn around the town, could have been an offshoot of Stothert and Pitt, could be just happenstance.

Like all sensible people he occasionally drank in the best pub in town.

Then California calls and off he goes to work for one of the big ‘uns. Taking with him only his veneration for a US naval officer

At which point:

Google to build ‘Grace Hopper’ subsea cable linking US to UK and Spain

Coincidence? I think not….

13 thoughts on “What joy”

  1. I think that the late Admiral Hopper is also the only computer programmer in the world to have had a warship named after her.

  2. Baron – and not many in the future will match “Man of the Year” awarded to Grace in 1969 by the Data Processing Management Association

  3. Well, back then it was The Old Green Tree. Now? Probably The Star although I am a little out of the loop these days.

  4. Grace Hopper is also quoted as saying that a Navy in port was safe but not much use.

    Was this before or after Pearl Harbour though?
    If after, the statement was already proven false.
    If before, well, perhaps that explains the sitting-duck complacency that Sunday morn…
    …and the statement shortly proven false.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    He venerated … Grace Hopper? The woman who gave all the banks critical code written in Cobol? Ay caramba!

    Of course these days any woman praised by the government in probably not as talented as Amelia Earheart – the first woman to sit in the back of a plane while it flew across the Atlantic. But I am divided by by Hopper. I think on the whole she had as much to do with the development of Computer Science as those nice Women of Colour who Hollywood thinks put a man on the moon. Maybe she made a nice cup of tea

  6. SMFS… That “critical code written in Cobol (should be COBOL by the way!)” has processed trillions of transactions with remarkably few errors for over 50 years. Bearing in mind that when Captain (may even have been Lieutenant at the time) Hopper first proposed COBOL it was in the days of “Autocode” and assembler, and it proved to be a major step forward and a damned-good language for the processes that it was designed to handle.

    It’s long been hated by “computer science” academics, largely I suspect because it had the temerity to have been developed by a “mere” sailor (despite the fact that she was an IBM Fellow) rather than a credentialled academic. Much of the present hatred is founded in the past, and there was certainly some bloody-awful code written 50 years ago (I should know, I wrote some of it!) but if you look back at Fortran or assembler from that era it’s every bit as bad (or in the case of some of the climate models written in Fortran, still is as bad!).

    (Old fogey rant over!)

  7. FORTRAN and COBOL may be odd by modern programming language standards, but they arose in the time of very little RAM and generally, processing from one or two magnetic tapes to a third, then rinse & repeat. So the sort of modern language constructs and recursive descent, or even table-driven, parsers would be too big for the available memory. Also, COBOL, being very wordy, spells it out in longhand, and is very precise about the structure of input and output strings. Ideal for people trying to learn the concept of programming some existing business logic in a very new field.

    Apparently maintaining existing COBOL programs is quite lucrative these days. However, though I’ve written code in many languages, I have never written a line of COBOL and don’t intend to start!

  8. @Tractor Gent…

    I’ve probably written millions of lines… Ker-ching!! Those yachts don’t buy themselves you know! 🙂

  9. ‘Grace Hopper’ – origin of the computer ‘bug’
    (a moth)

    Can the cable split on sea bed or will it land in UK then split to Spain?

    @Baron
    +1 CoBol was designed for Business and is damned good and easy to maintain

    It was the only language* taught on every year of my 4 year BSc Business & Computing

    If anyone remembers TI & JMA’s IEF it generated DB2 Cobol from the pseudo code RDB model

    * Others included Assembly, Pascal, C, ML, an AI and Postgres

    Plus ‘teach yourself Basic and write this program’ and ‘all assignments must be typed, learn a WP’ – today’s snowflakes would have panic attacks, we cracked on and helped each other

  10. Pcar Cables do have branching units, bundles of fibres are routed within them. You need discrete fibre routes between each terminal pair though, no subsea interface between fibres nowadays.

    In the early days when signals were regenerated (ie transformed from optical back to electrical, error checked and cleaned up then back into optical for onward transmission) in subsea repeaters at 50-60 km intervals and not simply optically amplified, this inteface was possible and could be used to reroute around damaged or defective fibre segments. Those regenerated cables had tiny capacity though compared to today’s cables, typically 140Mbit/sec on each fibre at the outset in mid 80s and this rose to about 2.4Gbit/s pair by the 90s before optical amplification killed off regeneration.

    Nowadays each fibre pair will carry many wavelengths of light, each carrying many gbits/sec and there might in a long haul cable be 8-10 fibre pairs. Shorthaul unrepeated cables will have hundreds of fibre pairs!

  11. Pcar live and learn! Apparently they can do wavelength level switching at branching units now, decide which frequencies of laser light they send which route. And apparently on this cable they’re going to attempt fibre level switching with a mechanical system of some kind. That’ll be interesting. This cable is also 16 fibre pairs.

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