American Philosophical Society
Member History

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1Name:  Dr. Frances E. Allen
 Institution:  IBM T. J. Watson Research Center
 Year Elected:  2001
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  107
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1932
 Death Date:  August 4, 2020
Frances E. Allen received her M.A. at the University of Michigan in 1957 and began her career as an engineer with IBM Research. Since 1989 she has been an IBM Fellow at the T.J. Watson Research Center. Jointly with APS member John Cocke, Dr. Allen is the principal source of machine-independent and language-independent code optimization technology. This technology is used in most compilers today: transforming the program into a simplified, largely machine-independent intermediate form; followed by optimization of this intermediate form; and finally generating the machine-dependent code which is executed. The result is a program that is easier to write and efficient to execute. Practically all subsequent work on producing efficient programs relies on Dr. Allen's seminal work. It is hard to imagine today's large and complex programs without her pioneering work. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2001. In 2007 she became the first woman honored with the Turing Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in computing. In 2010 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
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