Barbara Liskov

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Barbara Liskov
Barbara Liskov MIT computer scientist 2010.jpg
Liskov in 2010.
Born Barbara Jane Huberman
(1939-11-07) November 7, 1939 (age 76)
Nationality American
Fields Computer science
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alma mater
Thesis A Program to Play Chess End Games (1968)
Doctoral advisor John McCarthy[1]
Doctoral students Atul Adya, Sameer Ajmani, Russel Atkinson, Valdis Berzins, Toby Bloom, Winnie Cheng, Sheng-Yang Chiu, James Cowling, Mark Day, Sanjay Ghemawat, Robert Gruber, Maurice Herlihy, Deborah Hwang, Deepak Kapur, Rivka Ladin, Mark Laventhal, Ben Leong, Umesh Maheshwari, J. Eliot Moss, Andrew C. Myers, Brian Oki, Miguel Oom Temudo de Castro, Dan Ports, Rodrigo Rodrigues, Justin Schaffert, David Andrew Schultz, Alan Snyder, Benjamin Vandiver, William Weihl
Known for
Notable awards

Barbara Liskov (born November 7, 1939 as Barbara Jane Huberman) is an American computer scientist[2] who is an institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ford Professor of Engineering in its School of Engineering's electrical engineering and computer science department.[3] She is a Turing award winner and developed the Liskov substitution principle.

Life and career[edit]

Liskov was born in 1939 California, the eldest of Jane (née Dickhoff) and Moses Huberman's four children.[4] She earned her BA in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1961. In 1968 she became one of the first women in the United States to be awarded a Ph.D. from a computer science department when she was awarded her degree from Stanford University.[5][6] The topic of her Ph.D. thesis was a computer program to play chess endgames.[7] In 1970, she married Nathan Liskov, and their son, Moses Liskov, was born in 1975.

Liskov has led many significant projects, including the Venus operating system, a small, low-cost and interactive timesharing system; the design and implementation of CLU; Argus, the first high-level language to support implementation of distributed programs and to demonstrate the technique of promise pipelining; and Thor, an object-oriented database system. With Jeannette Wing, she developed a particular definition of subtyping, commonly known as the Liskov substitution principle. She leads the Programming Methodology Group at MIT, with a current research focus in Byzantine fault tolerance and distributed computing.

Recognition and awards[edit]

Liskov is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In 2002, she was recognized as one of the top women faculty members at MIT, and among the top 50 faculty members in the sciences in the U.S.[8]

In 2004, Barbara Liskov won the John von Neumann Medal for "fundamental contributions to programming languages, programming methodology, and distributed systems".[9] On 19 November 2005, Barbara Liskov and Donald E. Knuth were awarded ETH Honorary Doctorates.[10] Liskov and Knuth were also featured in the ETH Zurich Distinguished Colloquium Series.[11]

Liskov received the 2008 Turing Award from the ACM, in March 2009,[12] for her work in the design of programming languages and software methodology that led to the development of object-oriented programming.[13] Specifically, Liskov developed two programming languages, CLU[14] in the 1970s and Argus[15] in the 1980s.[13] The ACM cited her contributions to the practical and theoretical foundations of "programming language and system design, especially related to data abstraction, fault tolerance, and distributed computing."[16]

Barbara Liskov is the author of three books and over a hundred technical papers.


  1. ^ Barbara Liskov at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Barbara Liskov - A.M. Turing Award Winner
  3. ^ Barbara Liskov, Programming Methodology Group, MIT.
  4. ^ "Jane Siegel: Obituary". San Francisco Chronicle (via January 24, 2010. Retrieved 2014-11-18. 
  5. ^ "Barbara Liskov -- Engineergirl". Retrieved 2007-09-06.  Profile from the National Academies of Engineering.
  6. ^ "UW-Madison Computer Science Ph.D.s Awarded, May 1965 - August 1970". Retrieved 2010-11-08.  PhDs granted at UW-Madison Computer Sciences Department.
  7. ^ Huberman (Liskov), Barbara Jane (1968). "A program to play chess end games". Stanford University Department of Computer Science, Technical Report CS 106, Stanford Artificial Intelligence Project Memo AI-65. 
  8. ^ "MIT's magnificent seven: Women faculty members cited as top scientists". MIT News Office (Cambridge, MA). 5 Nov 2002. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  9. ^ IEEE John von Neumann Medal Recipients from the website of IEEE
  10. ^ "Honorary Doctors". Zurich: ETH Computer Science. 22 Mar 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2012. Barbara Liskov and Donald E. Knuth were awarded the title ETH Honorary Doctor on 19 November 2005. 
  11. ^ "Distinguished Lecturers Barbara Liskov and Donald E. Knuth". Zurich: ETH Computer Science. Jan 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Top prize in computing goes to MIT professor from the website of The Boston Globe
  13. ^ a b Barbara Liskov Wins Turing Award | March 10, 2009 from the Dr. Dobb's Journal website
  14. ^ Liskov, B.; Snyder, A.; Atkinson, R.; Schaffert, C. (August 1977). "Abstraction mechanisms in CLU". Comm. ACM 20 (8): 564–576. doi:10.1145/359763.359789. CiteSeerX: 
  15. ^ Liskov, B. (March 1988). "Distributed programming in Argus". Comm. ACM 31 (3): 300–312. doi:10.1145/42392.42399. 
  16. ^ "ACM Names Barbara Liskov Recipient of the 2008 ACM A.M. Turing Award". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 

External links[edit]