Lecture 1 : Advances in Compilers in Last 40 Years

By Frances E. Allen, 2007.




This inaugural lecture in the Inflections in Computing series honoring Hari V. Sahasrabuddhe, a great pioneer in Computer Science Education, is about languages, compilers, and high performance systems. The talk is not a comprehensive, definitive listing of the inflection points but a personal, historical perspective of inflections based on the speaker.s experience as a scientist and developer since 1957. The perspective discusses several early, very bold projects that profoundly influenced the field even as some of them failed. The talk ends with a brief discussion of a new challenge involving usability, performance, and core technology that Computer Science must solve.

Biodata of the Speaker:

Fran Allen is an IBM Fellow Emerita at the T. J. Watson Research Laboratory with a specialty in compilers and program optimization for high performance computers. This work led to Fran being named the recipient of ACM.s 2006 Turing Award. For pioneering contributions to the theory and practice of optimizing compiler techniques that laid the foundation for modern optimizing compilers and automatic parallel execution..

She is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Engineers, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, ACM, IEEE, and the Computer History Museum. She has served on numerous national technology boards including CISE (the Computer and Information Science and Engineering board) at the National Science Foundation and CSTB (the Computer Sciences and Telecommunications Board) for the National Research Council. Her many awards and honors include honorary doctorates from the University of Alberta (1991), Pace University (1999), and the University of Illinois at Urbana (2004).

Fran is an active mentor, advocate for technical women in computing, environmentalist, and explorer.