Frances Allen, whose job compiler helped set the foundation for the majority of modern computer programming, passed away on August 4, her 88th birthday. She was the first woman to win the Turing Award and the first female IBM colleague. Allen was determined to make the compilation tedious – converting software programs to zeros – more efficient. The work became a hallmark of her career.
After receiving a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Michigan, Allen took a job at IBM Research in Poughkeepsie, NY, in 1957, with the intention of staying only until his student loan was paid off. She taught IBM employees the basics of the company̵7;s new Fortran language, later becoming one of the three designers for the company’s Stretch-Harvest project.
Allen also served as IBM’s linguistic liaison with the National Security Agency, where she helped design and build Alpha, described by IBM as “a very high-level coding language capable of creating new alphabet in addition to the one defined by the system ”. The New York Times the obituary to Allen noted that the Stretch-Harvest machine was used to analyze communications intercepted by US spies. Allen helped build its compiler and programming language.
In a year 2002 The New York Times The profile, Allen said, was initially skeptical of Fortran and its effectiveness in making computer programming easier and more efficient, which was a major focus of her career. “There is a huge resistance,” she said. “They believe that no other higher level language can do the assembly job as well as they can.” “But the work sparked her interest in compiling, she later said,” because it’s organized in a legacy way for modern compilers. ”
Allen helped build a test compiler for IBM Advanced Computing systems, and from 1980 to the mid-1990s she headed a team at IBM working on the new concept of parallel computing. However, widely used in personal computers. She also helps develop software for IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputer project.
IBM appreciates that Allen has made great contributions to programming research and compilation. She also published a number of articles on program optimization, control flow analysis, and in 1972, co-wrote the “Catalog of Optimization of Transformations” with IBM computer scientist John Cocke. .
Allen spent 45 years at IBM, retired in 2002. She received the Turing Award in 2006. A strong advocate of mentoring other women in programming, Allen was introduced to entered the Women’s Hall of Fame in International Technology and received the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award from the Women in Computer Association, according to IBM.
“She broke the glass ceiling,” her colleague Mark Wegman told The New York Times. “At that time, nobody even thought that someone like her could achieve what she achieved.”