Frances E. Allen

Frances E. Allen

name = Frances Elizabeth "Fran" Allen

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birth_date = 1932
birth_place = upstate New York, United States
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field = computer science
work_institution = IBM
alma_mater = University of Michigan
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known_for = high-performance computing, parallel computing, compiler organization, optimization
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prizes = Turing Award
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:"For the early American nun, see Frances Allen (nun)."Frances Elizabeth "Fran" Allen (born 1932) is an American computer scientist and pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers. Her achievements include work in compilers, code optimization, and parallelization. She was the first female IBM Fellow. In 2006, she became the first woman to win the Turing Award.


Allen grew up on a farm in upstate New York and graduated from Albany State Teachers College with a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1954.Lohr, Steve (August 6 2002). Scientist at Work: Frances Allen; Would-Be Math Teacher Ended Up Educating a Computer Revolution. "New York Times"] She earned a master's degree in Math at the University of Michigan in 1957 and began teaching school in Peru, New York.Lasewicz, Paul (April 5 2003). [ Frances Allen interview transcript.] ] Deeply in debt, she joined IBM on July 15 1957 and planned to stay only until her school loans were paid, but ended up staying for her entire 45-year career.

In the early 1980s, she formed the Parallel TRANslation (PTRAN) group to study the issues involved in compiling for parallel machines. The group was considered one of the top research groups in the world working with parallelization issues. Her work on these projects culminated in algorithms and technologies that form the basis for the theory of program optimization and are widely used in today's commercial compilers throughout the industry.

Allen's influence on the IBM community was recognized by her appointment as an IBM Fellow in 1989, the first woman to receive this recognition. She was also president of the IBM Academy of Technology. The Academy plays an important role in the corporation by providing technical leadership, advancing the understanding of key technical areas and fostering communications among technical professionals. The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award was created in 2007 in honor of Allen who will serve as the fellowship's first mentor. [cite press release|title=IBM Creates Ph.D. Fellowship Award in Honor of First Female Turing Award Winner Fran Allen|url=|date=October 19, 2007|publisher=IBM|accessdate=2007-11-05] [cite web|author=Blake, Deirdre|title=Fran Allen Fellowship Award Founded|url=|work=|publisher=CMP Technology|date=October 22, 2007|accessdate=2007-11-05]

Awards and honors

Allen is a fellow of the IEEE, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Computer History Museum. She is currently on the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, the Computer Research Associates (CRA) board and National Science Foundation's CISE Advisory Board. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.fact|date=November 2007

In 1997, Allen was inducted into the WITI Hall of Fame. [ WITI Hall of Fame] ] She retired from IBM in 2002 and won the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award that year from the Association for Women in Computing.

In 2007 Allen was recognized for her work in high performance computing when she received the A.M. Turing Award for 2006. She became the first and only woman recipient in the forty year history of the award which is called the Nobel Prize for computing and is given by the Association for Computing Machinery. [cite news|author=Perelman, Deborah|title=Turing Award Anoints First Female Recipient|url=,1895,2098922,00.asp|date=February 27, 2007|work=eWEEK|publisher=Ziff Davis Enterprise|accessdate=2007-11-05] Associated Press (February 21 2007). First Woman Honored With Turing Award.] [cite press release|title=First Woman to Receive ACM Turing Award|publisher= The Association for Computing Machinery|url=|date=February 21, 2007|accessdate=2007-11-05] [cite news|author=Lombardi, Candace|title=Newsmaker: From math teacher to Turing winner|url=|date=February 26 2007|accessdate=2007-11-05] [cite news|author=Marianne Kolbasuk McGee |title=There's Still A Shortage Of Women In Tech, First Female Turing Award Winner Warns|url=|date=February 26, 2007, online February 24, 2007|work=InformationWeek|publisher=CMP Media|accessdate=2007-11-05] In interviews following the award she hoped it would give more "opportunities for women in science, computing and engineering". [cite web|author=Thomas, Jeffrey|title=Turing Award Winner Sees New Day for Women Scientists, Engineers|url=|date=16 March 2007|publisher=Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State|accessdate=2007-11-05] In her lecture presented to the ACM, Allen describes her work. [cite video|people=Allen, Frances E.|title=2006 Turing Award Lecture||url=|publisher=ACM|date=2006|accessdate=2007-11-05]


External links

* [ Frances Allen] via IBM Women in WITI Hall of Fame.
* [ Frances Allen: 2000 Fellow Awards Recipient] via Computer History Museum
* [ Fran Allen on Compilers and Parallel Computing Systems] Notes from her 2008 Organick Memorial Lecture

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