Frances E. Allen
|Frances Elizabeth "Fran" Allen|
August 4, 1932 |
Peru, New York, United States
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
|Known for||high-performance computing, parallel computing, compiler organization, optimization|
|Notable awards||Turing Award
Computer Pioneer Award (2004)
- For the early American nun, see Frances Allen (nun).
Frances Elizabeth "Fran" Allen (born August 4, 1932) is an American computer scientist and pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers. Her achievements include seminal work in compilers, code optimization, and parallelization. She also had a role in intelligence work on programming languages and security codes for the National Security Agency.
Allen grew up on a farm in Peru, New York and graduated from The New York State College for Teachers (now State University of New York at Albany) with a B.Sc. degree in mathematics in 1954. She earned an M.Sc. degree in mathematics at the University of Michigan in 1957 and began teaching school in Peru, New York. 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.
Fran Allen's work has had an enormous impact on compiler research and practice. Both alone and in joint work with John Cocke, she introduced many of the abstractions, algorithms, and implementations that laid the groundwork for automatic program optimization technology. Allen's 1966 paper, "Program Optimization," laid the conceptual basis for systematic analysis and transformation of computer programs. This paper introduced the use of graph-theoretic structures to encode program content in order to automatically and efficiently derive relationships and identify opportunities for optimization. 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. Her 1971 paper with Cocke, "A Catalog of Optimizing Transformations," provided the first description and systematization of optimizing transformations. Her 1973 and 1974 papers on interprocedural data flow analysis extended the analysis to whole programs. Her 1976 paper with Cocke describes one of the two main analysis strategies used in optimizing compilers today. Allen developed and implemented her methods as part of compilers for the IBM STRETCH-HARVEST and the experimental Advanced Computing System. This work established the feasibility and structure of modern machine- and language-independent optimizers. She went on to establish and lead the PTRAN project on the automatic parallel execution of FORTRAN programs. Her PTRAN team developed new parallelism detection schemes and created the concept of the program dependence graph, the primary structuring method used by most parallelizing compilers.—Association For Computing Machinery (ACM), Citation for the A.M. Turing Award 2006 
Allen became the first female IBM Fellow in 1989. In 2007 the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award was created in her honor.
Awards and honors
Allen is a Fellow of the IEEE and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In 2000, she was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for her contributions to program optimization and compiling for parallel computers." 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 and the American Philosophical Society. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994.
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 woman recipient in the forty year history of the award which is considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for computing and is given by the Association for Computing Machinery. She was awarded an honorary doctor in science degree at the winter commencement at SUNY University at Albany. In interviews following the award she hoped it would give more "opportunities for women in science, computing and engineering". In 2009 she was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from McGill university for "pioneering contributions to the theory and practice of optimizing compiler techniques that laid the foundation for modern optimizing compilers and automatic parallel execution". In her lecture presented to the ACM, Allen describes her work.
- Abbate, Janet (August 2, 2001). "Oral-History:Frances "Fran" Allen". IEEE Global History Network. New Brunswick, New Jersey: IEEE History Center. Interview #573. Retrieved 19 June 2012. "I was born August 4th, 1932, and I grew up on a farm, up in upstate New York. The town is Peru, New York."
- IBM Corporation, "IBM Fellow becomes first woman to receive A. M. Turing Award"
- Crump, Micheal, "Frances Allen's Computer Tipping", UAB Kaleidoscope magazine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, September 21, 2009.
- Jr, S.; Guy, L. (2011). "An interview with Frances E. Allen". Communications of the ACM 54: 39. doi:10.1145/1866739.1866752.
- Lohr, Steve (August 6, 2002). Scientist at Work: Frances Allen; Would-Be Math Teacher Ended Up Educating a Computer Revolution. New York Times
- Lasewicz, Paul (April 5, 2003). Frances Allen interview transcript.
- "Frances Allen". Computer History Museum. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- WITI Hall of Fame
- "Turing Award Citation". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
- Perelman, Deborah (February 27, 2007). "Turing Award Anoints First Female Recipient". eWEEK (Ziff Davis Enterprise). Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- Associated Press (February 21, 2007). First Woman Honored With Turing Award.
- "First Woman to Receive ACM Turing Award" (Press release). The Association for Computing Machinery. February 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- Lombardi, Candace (February 26, 2007). "Newsmaker: From math teacher to Turing winner". Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- Marianne Kolbasuk McGee (February 26, 2007, online February 24, 2007). "There's Still A Shortage Of Women In Tech, First Female Turing Award Winner Warns". InformationWeek (CMP Media). Retrieved 2007-11-05. Check date values in:
- Thomas, Jeffrey (16 March 2007). "Turing Award Winner Sees New Day for Women Scientists, Engineers". Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- Allen, Frances E. (2006). 2006 Turing Award Lecture. ACM. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frances E. Allen.|
- 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