[SIGCIS-Members] Fran Allen lecture on STRETCH / HARVEST just released

Dag Spicer dspicer at computerhistory.org
Sat Aug 15 15:04:06 PDT 2020

Hi everyone,

Here is a great lecture from the Computer History Museum archives — just released — with Fran Allen discussing the Stretch/Harvest compiler at the Museum, November 8, 2000, on the occasion of her being made a CHM Fellow. She won the ACM Turing Award in 2006.



In response to government requests, IBM Research designed a system for a very large data processing application, known as the HARVEST system, based on the Stretch supercomputer (IBM 7030), which was delivered to the National Security Agency in the early 1960s. The combined Stretch-HARVEST Project created a milieu for developing new technologies, new hardware architectures, and new software to meet the challenges of both systems. One of the guiding principles of the project was to make programming easier by the use of a compiler to generate code automatically from statements in the user's language.

Frances "Fran" Allen was a member of the ALPHA language design team which created a very high level language featuring, among other things, the ability to create new alphabets beyond the system defined alphabets (e.g. English, decimal, integer, binary) and treat complex, heterogeneous data in high-level statements. In addition to an overview of Stretch-HARVEST, the talk will describe some of the lesser known aspects of the project the people and institutions involved, the political climate, and the shared knowledge, views, and value systems which were part of this interesting project at an interesting time in the history of computing.

Catalog number: 102621818
Lot number: X4835.2009

[cid:37DA9F70-22BF-4CE3-8817-E5AF13D99DD8 at hsd1.ca.comcast.net.]

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