Frances Allen

Frances Allen: First Woman To Win The Turing Award

Frances Elizabeth Allen is an American computer scientist and pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers. She is the first woman who won the prestigious Turing Award.

Allen was born on August 4, 1932, and she grew up on a farm in Peru, New York. She graduated from The New York State College for Teachers (now part of the State University of New York) with a B.Sc. in mathematics in 1954 and began teaching school in Peru, New York. After two years, she enrolled at the University of Michigan and earned an M.Sc. degree in mathematics in 1957.

She took a few breaks in her IBM career and taught students at New York University and Stanford University. She retired from IBM in 2002. She was the first woman IBM fellow and IBM also created a Ph.D. Fellowship Award in her honor.

Allen was recognized for her work in high-performance computing with the 2006 Turing Award which is an award equivalent to the Nobel Prize for computer sciences and is given by Association of Computing Machinery.

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