HALL OF FAME
E-Mail: Museum Director
Ms. Alice Lucile Graham
Alice Lucile Graham was born November 14, 1911. She
attended high school in Webber, Kansas and later graduated from Kansas State
University with a bachelor’s, degree in mathematics. In 1948 she earned a
master’s degree in mathematics from Kansas State and went to work for the
Ballistics Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
In 1951 Graham moved to White Sands to take a position
as a mathematician in the Computing Section of the Data Reduction Branch in
the Flight Determination Laboratory. Coinciding with Graham's arrival was the
need for more and faster calculations of missile flight data. At first she set
up calculator system programs to accomplish the data reduction. By mid-1955
the range had its first computers to handle the huge volume of data needed for
each test report.
The early computers did not have their own system
programs supplied by the vendor. Graham was put in charge of programming and
developed the necessary system of programs and logic for use in data
reduction. It was a pioneering effort because there were no examples to follow
and no user-friendly languages to work with. The programming effort was so
effective that the backlog of data reports was, for the first time,
Later, the second generation of computers was installed
at White Sands and Graham led the way in developing the operating system
software. She was able to integrate the system and quickly bring it to full
In 1963 she was made chief of the Computing Branch of
the National Range’s Data Reduction Division. Added to her assignment in data
reduction was the experiment in real-time computing. It was a full-scale
effort to tie the computer directly to range radars, optical instruments and
other instrumentation throughout the range for an exchange of information. It
also provided for almost instantaneous displays of data.
In 1965 Graham moved to the newly created Computer
Directorate to provide computing for all major directorates and offices
requiring digital computing. She helped lead the way for a massive
centralization of computers at the range, cutting down on the number of
computers and installing new and more powerful systems.
During her career Graham was named the White Sands
Woman of the Year in 1957, received the Army decoration for Meritorious
Civilian Service in 1965 and was the first woman at the range to reach the
grade of GS-13.
She retired in 1969 and lives in Las Cruces.