[SIGCIS-Members] In Memoriam - Fran Allen

Brian Randell brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk
Wed Aug 5 12:47:37 PDT 2020


With great sadness I pass on this announcement from today’s issue of ACM Tech News:

> Frances E. Allen, First Female Recipient of ACM A.M. Turing Award, Dies at 88 
> IBM Research Blog
> August 5, 2020
> Frances Allen, the first female IBM Fellow and the first woman to be awarded the ACM A.M. Turing Award, has died at 88. A pioneer in compiler organization and optimization algorithms, Allen’s achievements in inter-procedural analysis and automatic parallelization continue to straddle the leading edge of compiler research. She served as IBM’s language liaison with the U.S. National Security Agency, helping to design and construct the high-level Alpha code-breaking language, which could generate new alphabets beyond system-defined alphabets. Allen designed and built the machine-independent, language-independent optimizing component of the Experimental Compiler for IBM's Advanced Computing System. An ACM Fellow, Allen also was a fellow of IEEE and of the Computer History Museum, was inducted into the Women In Technology International Hall of Fame, and and received the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award from the Association for Women in Computing.

I have happy memories of working alongside, and being highly impressed by, Fran Allen first at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, and then with the ACS Project in California, in the mid-1960s. Many years later, as a member of the Alan Turing Award Committee, I had the privilege of being involved with her receiving the Alan Turing Award. Her work with John Cocke at Yorktown Heights on optimising compilers was truly ground-breaking, an important early stage of a brilliant 45-year career at IBM, very appropriately marked by her Turing Award.

Let me encourage everyone who is not familiar with it to read the ACM Turing Award page about her - it is at https://amturing.acm.org/award_winners/allen_1012327.cfm

Kind regards

Brian Randell


School of Computing, Newcastle University, 1 Science Square, 
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 5TG
EMAIL = Brian.Randell at ncl.ac.uk   PHONE = +44 191 208 7923
URL = http://www.ncl.ac.uk/computing/people/profile/brianrandell.html

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