[SIGCIS-Members] In Memoriam - Fran Allen

Win Treese treese at acm.org
Mon Aug 10 18:09:22 PDT 2020

> On Aug 6, 2020, at 1:16 PM, Ken Strauss <ken.strauss at sympatico.ca> wrote:
> The obituary mentions her work on Alpha for the NSA (possibly in conjunction with development of the IBM 7950?). Are any details of Alpha available?

Hi, Ken. 

Alpha was a language on the IBM 7950 (Harvest) for the NSA’s use in writing cryptanalysis applications.

Some links:

- The Wikipedia article on Harvest: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_7950_Harvest gives a little context.

- A declassified 1964 paper by Snyder, "History of NSA [National Security Agency] General-Purpose Electronic Digital Computers” has a little about Alpha (https://www.governmentattic.org/3docs/NSA-HGPEDC_1964.pdf)

- It looks like Allen gave a talk at the Computer History Museum in 2000, but the page about it is just publicity for it: https://computerhistory.org/events/stretchharvest-compiler/

Not a lot that’s easy to get to, however.



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