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Fran Allen Wins Turing Award 79

Posted by kdawson
from the one-small-step-for-a-woman dept.
shoemortgage writes "The Association for Computing Machinery has named Frances E. Allen the recipient of the 2006 A.M. Turing Award for contributions that fundamentally improved the performance of computer programs in solving problems, and accelerated the use of high performance computing. Allen,74, is the first woman to receive the Turing Award in the 41 years of its history. She retired from IBM in 2002."
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Fran Allen Wins Turing Award

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  • So wait... (Score:4, Funny)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:15AM (#18108098)
    ...Does this mean she's a cylon?

    Ryan Fenton
  • Ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wombatmobile (623057) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:24AM (#18108166)

    I was glad to hear Fran Allen had won the Turing prize and went searching for an inspirational quote that would help me to appreciate the genius that sets her apart from other humans.

    But alas... I only found these [thinkexist.com].

    So I'm left wondering... maybe Fran Allen IS a computer...(?)

    In which case... I'm excited! Fran Allen deserves the Turing prize!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by skoaldipper (752281)
      She [ibm.com] is the real deal alright.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        So, what exactly ARE these "algorithms and technologies that are the basis for the theory of program optimization today and are widely used throughout the industry"?

        This is /., there must be hundreds of programmers here from every industry imaginable. Has anyone here ever even heard this woman's name before today?

        -Eric

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          From TFPR

          "Allen's 1966 paper, Program Optimization, laid the conceptual basis for systematic analysis and transformation of computer programs. Her 1970 papers, Control Flow Analysis and A Basis for Program Optimization established "intervals" as the context for efficient and effective data flow analysis and optimization. Much of her early work was done in collaboration with John Cocke, an IBM computer scientist who died in 2002. Her 1971 paper with John Cocke, A Catalog of Optimizing Transformations, provid
        • by Otter (3800)
          There is something peculiar about how far you have to dig to even find what she worked on (optimizing compilers, apparently) and no one here seems to have heard of her. If you look at the history of the Lovelace Awards [awc-hq.org], she's only noted as "First woman to be named IBM Fellow", in contrast to "Adele Mildred Koss: Developed the first compilers" or "Betty Holberton: One of the six original programmers of ENIAC".
  • Yeah... (Score:4, Funny)

    by tcdk (173945) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:32AM (#18108250) Homepage Journal
    So, what kind of test did she have to complete to qualify?
  • Fran on Wikipedia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shudde (915065) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:59AM (#18108486)

    Without getting too far into discussing whether she merited the award or not, since I'm not really qualified to judge. I find it interesting that her Wikipedia entry was only created on 6 February 2007 by a username that has made no other edits. I've always found the Wikipedia coverage of computer science fairly comprehensive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran_Allen [wikipedia.org]
    Edit history of Jtaylord [wikipedia.org]
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Not to mention the fact that it just repeats, verbatim, her bio [witi.com] from a 1997 award she won.

      -Eric

    • Re:Fran on Wikipedia (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:44AM (#18109048) Journal

      I've always found the Wikipedia coverage of computer science fairly comprehensive
      Coverage of computer science is good. Coverage of computer scientists is not. I was sent a link to a computer scientist on Wikipedia a few weeks ago, and it had the 'this is a stub' header across it. I tried searching for a few people I knew to be leaders in fields I've interacted with, and found that some were stubs and most didn't exist. Few people since Church and Turing have full articles, including most of the recent winners of the Grace Murray Hopper Award [wikipedia.org].
    • Computer scientists in universities are well-represented in Wikipedia, because they are known by their students who have all the time in the world. Computer scientists at IBM/Microsoft Research are not all that well-represented, because they are known only by their boss and subordinates, both of who never heard of Wikipedia.
  • by cmacb (547347) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:35AM (#18108916) Homepage Journal
    I'm surprised Grace Hopper never received the award. When I was coming up in the industry she was always cited as one of the great pioneers of computing.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      It would seem to be a slight of epic proportions... I wonder if they would deign to give her one now? But let's face it, the computing field has been male-dominated since its inception -- there's no reason to wonder it took so long for a woman of Fran Allen's stature to win the award. Perhaps this will bring to light the contributions of other women in the field.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        the computing field has been male-dominated since its inception
        Ada Lovelace [wikipedia.org]
      • by lord_mike (567148)
        No slight...

        She invented COBOL.

        That fact alone should prevent her from receiving any major computer science award for at least the next 1000 years.

        Thanks,

        Mike
    • Alan Turing never won the Grace Murray Hopper Award [wikipedia.org] either, so that seems fair.

      Well, him being dead well before the GH award was invented could explain it, but none the less. Having an award named after you kind of make up for not winning an award.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I am lucky (and old) enough to have attended a lecture by Grace Hopper. She had an uncommon skill at presenting computing technology that was accessible to both technical and nontechnical folks. Fascinating, dynamic, a chain smoker, and perhaps all of 5 feet tall. I still have one of her nanoseconds - a wire cut to the length that an electrical signal can travel in a nanosecond.
    • by lakeland (218447)
      She'd have been TOO early. The Turing awards didn't start until about 1970, by which time she had kinda finished 'Pioneering'.
      Not that the Turing awards avoid giving retrospective awards (Naur for instance) but it seems more common to give it to semi recent research.
    • She was the first person to realise you could use computers for other things than computing mathematical formulas, and that it should be programmable in a language resembling english. To realize that in that time must have taken an insane amount of insight. Many advances come from seeing a problem, and solving it. But she didn't really have problem to see! Everybody else thought she was crazy, that it could never be done. Computers performed mathematical calculations and were programmed using assembly or ma
  • I, for one, shall greet our new 'female geek' overlords.

    (sorry for that - but the overlord-semi-joke was posted only once here - until now.)
  • Man, this is sad. I was scanning the RSS and I read "Frat Aliens Win ..." and of course I clicked the link immediately based on that :).
  • Astronomy (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bastard of Subhumani (827601) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @01:58PM (#18110906) Journal
    I thought she discovered the Fran Allen belts.
  • I'm going to RTFA for this, but why is the article just saying "whoa, a turing award recipient didn't have the Y-chromosome", and not saying *what* she got it for? If her work is so noteworthy as to be deserving of the Turing award, isn't it worth a mention on Slashdot? The real story isn't just that a woman got it, for once, but also what she got it for.

    Most, if not all, articles where men get some award, the focus tends to be the work they did, not the fact that they have an extra appendage dangling betwe
  • Didn't Grace Hopper win the Turing Award years ago?

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