February 21, 2007 7:42 AM PST

For first time, woman wins Turing Award

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The prestigious A.M. Turing Award, for the first time, is going to a woman.

Frances Allen, who was a computer scientist at IBM, is set to receive the 2006 Turing Award in June for program optimization work that led to modern methods for high-speed computing, the Association for Computing Machinery announced Wednesday.

Allen is noted for her development of Ptran (Parallel Translation), a specific method for running a program over multiple processors to improve speed and efficiency.

Frances Allen Frances Allen

Along with the honor, Allen will receive $100,000, ACM said.

Allen received an undergraduate degree in education from the Albany State Teachers College--now State University of New York at Albany--and a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan.

She joined IBM in 1957 to teach the Fortran (Formula Translation) programming language. From there, she went on to develop program optimization, language-independent optimizers and Ptran.

Her work provided the foundation for the high-speed computing systems used today for forecasting weather, matching DNA and analyzing national security.

In 1989, Allen was made the first female IBM Fellow. She is now an IBM Fellow Emeritus, recognized for her work in mentoring women and men in technology.

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Grace Hopper, RIP
I am sure that Admiral Hopper is smiling in the Great Beyond. Such a shame that she never won this Turing award. She was an amazing intellect, speaker and person. But Ms. Allen is certainly worthy as my colleagues at IBM who worked with her inform me.
Posted by dsherr1 (28 comments )
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Well Said ...
It's about damn time.

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, USNR, (1906-1992)

Grace Murray (Hopper) was born in New York City on 9
December 1906. She graduated from Vassar College in 1928
and received a PhD in Mathematics from Yale University in 1934.
She was a member of the Vassar faculty from 1931 to 1943,
when she joined the Naval Reserve. Commissioned a Lieutenant
(Junior Grade) 1944, she was assigned to the Bureau of
Ordnance and immediately became involved in the development
of the then-embryonic electronic computer. Over more than four
decades to follow, she was in the forefront of computer and
programming language progress.

Leaving active duty after the war's end, Dr. Hopper was a
member of the Harvard University faculty and, from 1949, was
employed in private industry. She retained her Naval Reserve
affiliation, attaining the rank of Commander before retiring at
the end of 1966. In August 1967, Commander Hopper was
recalled to active duty and assigned to the Chief of Naval
Operations' staff as Director, Navy Programming Languages
Group. She was promoted to Captain in 1973, Commodore in
1983 and Rear Admiral in 1985, a year before she retired from
the Naval service. She remained active in industry and education
until her death on 1 January 1992.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
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Congratulations to Frances!
Congratulations to Ms. Frances Allen! You go Girl!
Posted by bodisurfr123 (1 comment )
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