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Frances Allen, pioneer of code compilation, dies at 88


To the recent farewell to William English, today joins the farewell to Frances Allen, ex-IBM worker and computer pioneer, who died of Alzheimer’s last August 4, on his birthday, at the age of 88. Known for making vital contributions to compilers or software that converts raw code into fast-running executables, Allen also played a pivotal role in advancing women in technology.

From 1966 onwards, Allen and scientist John Cocke wrote articles detailing algorithms and frameworks that helped compilers to be much more efficient. And it is that today, if you have ever created an application, it is very likely that it is due to the work done by this woman. In fact, ella and her companions also achieved great progress in parallel computing, one of the most present current models, in which tasks are shared between several systems to speed up their completion.

In addition to being one of the relatively few women involved in early computer work, going to work for IBM as a code instructor in 1957, she set out to support women and served as a mentor. And it is that half of the group of experimental compilers of IBM was formed by women during decades of 1970 and 1980. Although it was not until 1989 that Frances Allen received the true distinction of being the first woman to become a member of IBM.

Finally, for the sake of increasing recognition for being the first woman to win the turing award, In 2006, the next delivery of this award, the highest recognition of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the United States, will be named after him.

Although the work of Frances Allen will persist far beyond in time, present in all modern models and compilers that allow us the current fast experiences in computers and smartphones, or in the future generation of consoles and games in the cloud.

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