The talk will describe a related sequence of projects including some early, very bold projects that profoundly influenced the field even as some of them failed. The speaker was involved with several of these projects and familiar with all of them. The talk includes a personal perspective of what worked and what didn't the historical threads of some ideas and the lessons learned. The talk concludes by describing the current challenge of universal parallel computing and suggesting some approaches for working on it.
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. Soon after joining IBM Research as a programmer in 1957 with a University of Michigan masters degree in mathematics, Fran found the technical goal that would drive her career: Enable both programmer productivity and program performance in the development of computer applications. One result of this goal: Fran was 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 executions."
Fran 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. Fran has several honorary doctorate degrees and has served on numerous national technology boards including CISE at the National Science Foundation and CSTB for the National Research Council. Fran is also an active mentor, advocate for technical women in computing, environmentalist, and explorer.