Distinguished Lecture - High Performance Computers and Compilers: A Personal Perspective

Location: Squires Haymarket Theatre
Date: Friday, September 11, 2009
Time: 11:15am-12:30pm
This talk is open to the general public.

Presentation: Video

Slides: PDF

A Meet-the-Speaker session will be held 4:00pm-5:30pm in McBryde 106.

Frances E. Allen, IBM Fellow Emerita
IBM T. J. Watson Research Center

The talk will describe a related sequence of projects - including some early, very bold projects that profoundly influenced the field (and the speaker's career) even as some of them failed. The speaker was involved with several of these projects and familiar with all of them. The talk gives a personal perspective of what worked and what didn’t, and provides the historical threads of their underlying ideas and the lessons learned. The talk concludes by identifying current compiler challenges and outlines the need for a new focus on compilers.

Fran Allen’s specialty is 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 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 execution.”

The Turing Award is ACM's most prestigious technical award, given annually to an individual for contributions of "lasting and major technical importance." The award, which is accompanied by a $250,000 prize, is often referred to as "Computing's Nobel Prize."

Fran is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, ACM, IEEE, and the Computer History Museum. Fran holds 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 an active mentor, advocate for technical women in computing, an environmentalist, and explorer.