It’s a sad week for the computing industry. IBM reports (via the New York Times) that computing pioneer and company fellow Frances Allen died of Alzheimer’s on her birthday, August 4th, at the age of 88. She’s best known for making vital contributions to compilers, or the software that turns raw code into fast-running executables. From 1966 onward, she and scientist John Cocke wrote papers detailing algorithms and frameworks that helped compilers become much more efficient — if you’ve ever built an app, you likely owe something to Allen’s work.
She and her peers also made progress on parallel computing, where tasks are shared across systems to speed up their completion.