Lecture 3 : The Power of Abstraction

By Prof. Barbara H. Liskov




Abstraction is at the center of much work in Computer Science. It encompasses finding the right interface for a system as well as finding an effective design for a system implementation. Furthermore, abstraction is the basis for program construction, allowing programs to be built in a modular fashion. This talk will discuss how the abstraction mechanisms we use today came to be, how they are supported in programming languages, and some possible areas of future research.

Biodata of the Speaker:

Professor Barbara Liskov is the Ford Professor of Engineering in the MIT School of Engineering's Electrical Engineering anf Computer Science Departmenta and an Institute Professot at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She leads the Programming Methodology Group at MIT, wth a current research focus in Byzantine fault tolerance and distributed computing.

The contributions of Professor Liskov include the design and implementation of CLU, a programming language that significantly influenced the development of object-oriented programming; Argus, the first high-level language to support implementation of distributed programs; and Thor, an object-oriented database system. With Jeanette Wing, she developed a particular definition of subtyping, commonly known as the Liskov substitution principle.

Professor Liskov received the 2008 Turing Award from the ACM for her work in the design of programming languages and software methodology that led to the development of object-oriented programming.