News-First Woman Winning the Turing Award -Frances Allen
First Woman Winning the Turing Award -Frances Allen
Allen was the first female IBM Fellow and in 2006 became the first woman to win the Turing Award.
In the past 40 years of computing, computers have shrunk, networks have expanded and new languages have emerged. Fran Allen has watched it all firsthand. That moment Allen was a math teacher looking to pay off college debt with a job at IBM; today, she is part of "one of the most amazing periods in computing ever." Following completion of her master's degree in Math at the University of Michigan in 1957, Allen joined the IBM Research division to teach FORTRAN to other researchers. "At the time, FORTRAN was revolutionary and a very exciting breakthrough in computing," she says. Today, she is amazed at how far computer languages have come. "Java is fascinating; it's a paradigm that matches the new network computing opportunities." Since the early 1960s, Allen, a scientist at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, New York, has focused her attention on compilers and high-performance computing systems. Her pioneering compiler work culminated in algorithms and technologies that are the basis for the theory of program optimization today and are widely used throughout the industry. She is now launching a study on compilers with new systems and problems and exploring their uses. According to Allen, "The convergence of computing, communications, and digitization of information is letting us create new solutions in new ways. Computer languages and their compilers are a key to making this work."
When she's not exploring new computing opportunities, Allen's passions are climbing mountains and studying environmental issues. She's a member of the American Alpine Club and the Alpine Club of Canada, participating in exploratory expeditions to the Artic and on the Chinese/Tibet border.
2012 Women's Day