Outstanding women in the world of computer technology. Part II

In a previous article, we already met some outstanding women from the world of computer technology. There is an important word - some. Today, we will continue to get to know those who have earned the respect of the scientific community not for their beautiful eyes and “outstanding” forms, but for their extraordinary intelligence and remarkable work. Go.

Margaret Hamilton

What could be common between philosophy and mathematics? These two disciplines seem so far apart. When someone chooses one of them, the second becomes forgotten. However, sometimes even mathematicians must be a little philosopher to do great things.

Margaret was born on August 17, 1936 in the small town of Paoli (Indiana). In 1954, she graduated from high school in Hancock. In the same year, Margaret entered the Department of Mathematics at the University of Michigan. The choice of such an exact science did not prevent her from obtaining a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Earlham College in 1958. Why mathematics and philosophy, you ask. Mathematics was always of interest to Margaret, even though her family did not have those who would be engaged in exact sciences. But the choice of philosophy as a discipline is connected with the influence of her father, who was a poet and philosopher. As for the choice of an educational institution - Earlham College - there is also a family influence. The fact is that this college was founded by the Quakers (also known as the Religious Society of Friends), and Grandfather Margaret was a Quaker-preacher. This community unites representatives of a wide range of religious beliefs, positioning itself as a place of equality and mutual respect without regard to sex, religious beliefs or other differences. The same principles worked in college, where boys and girls could study, which was not so common practice in those days.

One of the buildings of Earlham College
As a student, Margaret met her future husband. After marriage, she worked for some time as a teacher of mathematics and French in high school.

As soon as her husband completed her studies, Margaret was able to move away from teaching and do more interesting things. In 1960, she began work on writing software for the LGP-30 and PDP-1 computer weather forecasting systems, which were part of the MAC project. The actual leader of the young programmer was an outstanding mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz, who was in charge of the MIT meteorology department (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Edward Lorenz is one of the founders of chaos theory and the author of the term “butterfly effect”, if you describe his activity very, very briefly. For now is not about him.

Computer LGP-30 in the open

From 1961 to 1963, Margaret worked as one of the programmers in the SAGE project at the Lincoln Laboratory (MIT). She created software for the first AN / FSQ-7 computer. Initially, there was a Whirlwind project, whose main task was to predict and track weather conditions through simulations. And the SAGE project was created already for military purposes. His task was to track the movements of enemy aircraft in order to anticipate a possible attack by the USSR. This was the period of the Cold War, when many scientific studies on both sides were aimed at increasing defense against the "enemy".

Margaret at the Lincoln Laboratory (1962)
It was the work on the SAGE project that led NASA to become interested in Margaret and her talents.

Here's what Margaret herself says about the SAGE project:
Что было привычно, когда ты приходил в эту организацию, так это то, что новичкам давали работать над этой программой, которую никто толком не понимал и не мог запустить. Когда я была новичком, они и мне поручили над ней работать. Само программирование было весьма сложным, а человек, который написал данную программу, восхищался тем фактом, что написал все комментарии на латыни или на греческом. И вот меня направили работать над программой и у меня все получилось. Она даже выдавала ответы на латыни и греческом. Я была первой, кто смог заставить ее работать.
After working on the SAGE project, Hamilton joined the staff of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory at MIT, where at that time the development for the Apollo space program was underway. Extremely quickly Margaret led a group of developers who created software for Apollo and the Skylab space station.

The most significant contribution to the work of Apollo from Margaret and her team was the software for the on-board computer.

Margaret and the “tower” from the software code for Apollo 11 (1969)

A critical feature of the software developed by the team was a robust architecture, or rather asynchronous execution of tasks. What does this mean: the computer will perform primarily tasks with the highest priority, and then the rest. Simply put, if you have a life-saving capsule (as in some kind of science fiction), which the life support system and, for example, a coffee maker refused. The computer will fix the life support system first.

Forget about science fiction and my silly example. In reality, the work of this system was tested in practice. About 3 minutes before Apollo 11 landed on the lunar surface, the on-board computer began to issue alarms. It was overloaded due to incoming radar data. Thus, the computer had to handle more tasks than it could physically. However, thanks to the asynchronous execution system, the computer continued to carry out priority operations, which were critical for the landing.

Demonstration of the on-board computer Apollo 11
Hamilton's words regarding this incident:
Компьютер (а точнее его ПО) был достаточно умен, чтобы понять что его просят выполнять больше задач, чем он способен. Тогда он давал астронавтам сигнал «я перегружен большим числом задач, чем должен выполнять, потому в данный момент я буду исполнять только самые важные, т.е. для посадки…». Вообще-то, компьютер был запрограммирован делать больше, чем просто идентифицировать ошибки. Полный пакет программ восстановления был внедрен в ПО. Действия ПО, в данном случае, заключались в ликвидации низкоприоритетных задач и перезапуске высокоприоритетных. Если бы компьютер не распознал бы эту ошибку и не принял мер по ее исправлению, я сомневаюсь что посадка Аполлона 11 была бы столь успешной.
In 2003, Margaret Hamilton received an honorary award from NASA for her contribution to the development of space. She was nominated by NASA senior technologist Dr. Paul Curto, who said the following:
Я был удивлен, когда обнаружил, что она никогда не была официально награждена за свою невероятную работу. Ее концепт асинхронного ПО, планировки приоритетов, еnd-to-end тестирование и HITL (Human-in-the-loop), такие как отображение приоритетов стали фундаментом для ультра-надежного программного обеспечения.
Together with the award, Hamilton received a check in the amount of $ 37,200, which is the largest award amount ever allocated to one person.

In addition to his outstanding work in the field of software programming, Margaret, while working with NASA, tried her best to convey to the scientific community the importance and complexity of this type of activity. It was she who first used the concept of "software engineering." Until now, this term did not exist, and the activity itself designated by it was not taken seriously. Those who designed the hardware were considered very important people in any project, and those who made the software were just on the alert.

Hamilton puts it this way:
Когда я впервые употребила данный термин, о нем никто и не слышал ранее, по крайнее мере в нашем мире. Это была долгоиграющая шутка на протяжении долгого времени. Они любили подшучивать надо мной из-за моих радикальных идей. Это был знаменательный день, когда один из самых уважаемых гуру «железа» объяснил всем во время собрания, согласованного со мной, что процесс создания программного обеспечения также должен расцениваться как инженерная дисциплина, так же как и с «железом». Не просто для принятия нового термина как такового, а потому что мы заслужили его существование в сфере инженерии наряду с другими.

A Short Interview with Margaret Hamilton
Later, Hamilton founded the company Higher Order Software (HOS), where she was Executive Director from 1976 to 1984. The main objective of the company was the development and development of technologies for error prevention and fault tolerance. A product was created called USE.IT, based on a methodology developed by HOS. It has been used successfully in many government systems.

The company's work and its brainchild succumbed to both laudatory reviews and harsh criticism. Distinguished Dutch scientist Edsger Dijkstra called USE.IT "a mechanized tool for using obsolete methods."

In 1985, Hamilton left the company, but did not sit idle for a long time. In March 1986, she founded the new company Hamilton Technologies, where she took over as executive director.

Of course, at the mention of the name Margaret, everyone immediately pops up in her head her work at NASA. However, she showed herself as an excellent leader and entrepreneur.

Awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Margaret Hamilton
On November 22, 2016, Margaret Hamilton was awarded the Presidential Medal of Liberty, the highest award for a civilian in the United States.

Margaret showed everyone that you can be both a philosopher and a software developer. She had to sort out those areas that few knew about and certainly no one had taught this to anyone. Roughly speaking, she had to understand and learn the principles of operation of devices and programs already during their use.

Hedi Lamarr

Beauty is a terrible force. But what if beauty sang along with an extraordinary mind? It was this explosive mixture, beauty and intelligence, that Lady Lamarr possessed.

Hedi was born (originally Hedwig Eva Maria Kisler) on November 9, 1914 in Vienna. Her family was not burdened with financial problems. My father was a banker, and my mother was a pianist and came from a rather wealthy family. In her early years, Hedy showed good acting skills. The stubborn nature and faith in her talent prompted Hedy to leave school at age 15 and completely leave for the world of acting.

Hedwig Eva Maria Kisler at the age of 7

At the end of the 1920s, Max Reinhardt, an Austrian film director and theatrical, brought her to Berlin, where at the end of her acting school she began working as a “script girl” (in the early years of this profession, only women were engaged in it, which was why name) - the person responsible for many aspects - costumes, sets, make-up, actors' actions during filming, etc. Subsequently, Hedi became an actress.

Max Reinhardt

Huge popularity brought her a role in the film by Gustav Mahatha "Ecstasy" (1933). However, not her acting data was on everyone’s lips, but scenes incredibly frank at that time, where Hedy appeared naked. It is said that Hedi herself did not think that her body would be so clearly visible in the frame, but the director and producers did not tell her about the use of powerful telephoto lenses during filming. As a result, the film caused a storm of mixed emotions among the audience, reviews of critics and reactions of the governments of many countries. Ecstasy won an award at the Rome Film Festival. However, the leaders of the United States and Germany took the picture, to put it mildly, coldly and banned it from showing in their countries. The Pope also sharply criticized this film.

Hedy in the movie Ecstasy

Such an ambiguous role hit Khedi’s attitude to the movie, so she turned her attention to the stage, playing several roles in famous productions.

One of the most persistent, among many, Hedi's gentlemen was Frederick Mandl. On August 10, 1933, they entered into a marriage that did not last long and was far from ideal. Mandl was engaged in the production of weapons, and therefore made friends with the then leaders of different countries. According to Hedi, Hitler and Mussolini repeatedly attended the magnificent parties that Frederick hosted at home.

Friedrich Mandl

Since Mandl was very oppressive, Hedi had to spend almost all the time with him. He took it with him to various business meetings at which the details of the production and development of various weapons were discussed in the company of scientists and arms manufacturers. It was these meetings that showed in Khedi her interest in applied science, which would later bear fruit.

No longer willing to endure the tyranny of her husband, Hedi, disguised as her maid, fled to London, where she was able to get a divorce. She was finally free, but had no job. This alignment did not last very long.

In London, Hedy met with Louis B. Mayer, one of the founders of MGM. In order to avoid constant comparison with the role in the movie Ecstasy, Mayer suggests that Hedi change her name. She uses Lamarr as a pseudonym (the basis was the name of the outstanding silent film actress Barbara la Marr).

MGM Actors and Louis B. Meyer (front row, center) - 1943.
A very successful film actress career followed. Millions of fans, the title of “the most beautiful woman in the world”, recognition, in general, all that an actress can desire.

Hedy in her makeshift lab

But Hedi Lamarr is not on this list because of her acting talents. The second, but no less important, Hedi's hobby was inventions. Simply put, she was very fond of collecting, disassembling something, trying to understand the principle of work and possible ways to improve. Even in her trailer on the set there was a table with all kinds of details, tools and drawings. And at home, she had a whole improvised workshop and a huge bookcase with books of various scientific fields. They say that Howard Hughes admired Hedy both as an actress and as the owner of such an outstanding mind. He even gave her a set of tools for her passion.

Hedy Lamarr and George Antail

World War II was in full swing. Khedi Lamarr, being a native of Europe and half Jewish, was extremely sensitive to the news of what was happening in her once hometown. Then she decided that she should intervene, do at least something. Her friend and, later, the inventive mate George Anteyl said:
Мы начали разговор о войне, которая поздним летом 1940 была особенно страшной. Хеди сказала, что не чувствует себя комфортно, сидя в Голливуде и зарабатывая кучу денег, когда там такая ситуация. Она сказала, что хорошо разбирается в вооружениях и разных секретных типах оружия…. и что она серьезно задумывается бросить работу в MGM и отправится в Вашингтон, дабы вступить в новообразованный Совет изобретателей.
One of the biggest problems for the Allied forces was Nazi submarines. Imagine a situation: an Allied ship discovers an enemy submarine and launches a guided torpedo into it. The problem was that these submarines could intercept and jam the signal by which the ship was controlled by a torpedo. The signal was transmitted at a specific frequency. It is necessary to identify and drown this frequency, and that’s all, torpedoes are not scary for you. Hedy Lamarr thought, why not split the signal into different segments and transmit them at several frequencies. Thus, drowning out one frequency, the enemy did not jam the entire signal entirely, and the ship continued to successfully control the torpedo. This process is called spectrum spreading.

Spectrum extension graphic

And Hedi was able to make this invention, turn it from theory into a real device. On August 11, she and George Antail received a patent. They immediately went to the leaders of the US Navy in order to present their invention that could change the course of the war. However, they were refused. Someone says because of the complexity of the implementation, they say the military did not want to spend time and resources; someone believes that Khedi was not trusted, suspecting her of espionage for the benefit of the Nazis (she is from Europe, anyway). So such an important invention was forgotten. Forgotten for decades, but not forever.

Spectrum Enhancer Patent Page (August 11, 1942)

Only in 1962, during the Cuban conflict, an updated version of the invention of Lamarr was installed on the ships of the US Navy. However, the inventor herself did not know about this. The whole problem was in US patent laws. The inventor and patent holder had the right to dividends from its use only during the validity period of the patent itself. And the patent of Lamarr expired in 1959. In fact, she lost the right to her own creation.

Google Doodle in honor of the 101st birthday of Hedi Lamarr
The official recognition of Lamarr as an inventor, and not as an actress, came already in her declining years. In 1997, she received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award, presented to people for their tremendous contribution to empowering people through computer technology. She also received the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze bronze award, which is awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to art, science, business or the field of invention, which influenced the future life of the whole society.

В 2014 году Hedy Lamarr and George Antail были включены в Национальный зал славы изобретателей.

A documentary about life, creativity and, most importantly, about the scientific and inventive activities of Hedi Lamarr (2017) Attention: pop-up advertising, but the film is worth it.

Hedi Lamarr's life was like a movie. There were scandalous roles, and tragic events, and career ups and downs, and the triumph of the mind, and oblivion. Hedi proved to the whole world that one should not value and evaluate a person only by his “cover”. Behind beautiful eyes, no less beautiful mind can be hidden.
Ум человека куда интереснее его внешности, я считаю. Люди думают, что я какая-то глупая девчонка.
Lamarr is also a great example of how a person should help others than he can. You cannot stand aside, you cannot be indifferent, even if no one appreciates your efforts, even if no one remembers them.
Отдай миру лучшее, что у тебя есть, и ты получишь по зубам. Все равно отдай миру лучшее, что у тебя есть.

Mary Allen Wilkes

Have you ever asked a curious question - who was the first person in the world to have a computer at home? Now, that person was Mary Allen Wilkes. But this is far from her only accomplishment during a long career in the field of computer technology and jurisprudence.

Mary was born December 25, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois. After leaving school, Mary entered Wellesley College, where in 1959 she received a bachelor's degree. What prompted her to choose computers? According to Mrs. Wilkes, when she was in grade 8, a geography teacher told her: “Mary Allen, when you grow up, you must become a computer programmer.” Perhaps this teacher discerned in Mary her true talents, and this parting word was realized.

Mary Allen while working on LINC (1962)

From 1959 to 1960, Mary worked at the Lincoln Laboratory in MIT, where she was engaged in the creation of software for the early computers IBM 704 and IBM 709. Later, in 1961, Mary joined the LINC development team led by Wesley Clark. LINC or Laboratory Instrument Computer was the first microcomputer and progenitor of home PCs. Of course, it was not as compact as modern PCs, but at that time its dimensions were very small compared to other computers. Wilks's main task was to write various OS for LINC. Her first creation was called LAP (Line Assembly Program), it was a combination of the OS and code assembler. Using LAP, the user could choose to write programs in assembly language or machine language. LAP was developed and improved up to version LAP6, по которой Мэри Уилкс написала руководство пользователя.

Mary Allen Wilkes at work (1963)
In 1965, Mary programmed not at the laboratory, not at the university, but at home. It was unbelievable at the time. During this period, she created an important element of modern compilers - the linker model.

According to Mary, her parents, especially her father, were very pleased to have a PC at home. Mary's father boasted to all his neighbors and loved to jokingly say:
Могу поспорить, что у вас в гостиной нет компьютера.
After working at MIT, Mary worked at the University of Washington in St. Louis in a computer systems laboratory.

Mary at the computer in the living room of her house (1965)
Working with computers brought Mary a lot of pleasure, especially since she coped with it perfectly. However, Mrs. Wilkes is a versatile person, and does not like to dwell on one thing. In 1972, she left the world of computer science and entered Harvard Law School.

Mary Wilkes’s legal career was as successful as a computer programmer’s career. For many years she was a lawyer. She then led the Economic Crimes and Consumer Protection Division at the Middlesex County Attorney's Office. From 1983 to 2011, she taught at Harvard. For 18 years, she has been a judge at the annual Ames Moot Court Competition, a student competition that simulates a court session. In 2011, she became a representative of the American Arbitration Association (American Arbitration Association) - a non-profit organization for the resolution of disputes between parties who do not want to bring the case to court. Even in this position, Mary had to remember her past related to computers, since she was engaged in resolving disputes in the field of information technology and computer science. На протяжении 8 лет она была судьей на одних из самых престижных соревнованиях по юриспруденции в мире — Willem C. VIS International Commercial Arbitration Moot (тут также участники должны были принимать участие в симуляции судебного заседания), проходившего в Вене.

A short interview with Mary Allen Wilkes (2007)
Mary Allen Wilkes deserves attention not only as a strong and smart woman or as an outstanding programmer and pioneer of home PCs, but also as an excellent lawyer. What can be common in such, at first glance, different sciences? Everything is simple - in computers and in jurisprudence, success can only be achieved with an extraordinary mind and ability to analyze, the ability to see sequences, and anticipate the outcome of one or another element.

Gertrude Blanche

Sometimes, in order to succeed, it is necessary to go a difficult path, overcoming obstacles one by one. The main thing is not to give up and go to your goal, no matter what.

Gertrude Blanche was born on February 2, 1897 in the city of Kolno (now Poland) under the name Gittel Kaymowitz. In addition to her, the family had six more children. Gertrude's father immigrated to the United States, and already in 1907 she and her mother followed him. Having settled in New York, she began to study at the Eastern District School in Brooklyn, which she graduated in 1914. Unfortunately, Gertrude's father passed away that same year. Realizing that she would have to feed her family, she postponed her education plans and began working as a simple clerk. For a long 14 years, Gertrude put off as much as she could and finally entered New York University, graduating in 1932 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics. It was this year that Gittel Caymowitz changed her name to Gertrude Blanche. Уже в 1935 году она защитила докторскую в Корнеллском университете по направлению алгебраическая геометрия.

Gertrude's scientific career began, as with many, with teaching. However, the students did not have to chew on the granite of science, after 3 years Blanche joined the team of the newly formed Mathematical Tables Project. This organization was the largest and most effective in computing until the creation of electronic computers. It was created on the basis of WPA (Works Progress Administration).

Mathematical Tables Project
* WPA Office - US Public Works Office, created in 1935 by President Roosevelt to provide people with jobs as part of a new economic course aimed at rebuilding the US economy after the Great Depression (1929-1939).

Within the walls of this organization, various complex calculations were carried out for various projects, state and military structures, and for scientific research. In the shortest possible time Blanche became one of the leaders.

The staff consisted of 450 people, most of whom had only basic knowledge in the field of mathematics. However, the algorithms and methods for detecting errors were so effective that for many decades to come the calculation results determined the standard for transcendental functions.

Sample math tables

At the end of 1942, the Mathematical Tables Project disconnected from the WPA and became an independent organization. There was World War II and the US military needed all sorts of calculations for its weapons, tracking and communications systems, etc. Under the leadership of Gertrude Blanche, computational work was done for the Bureau of Research and Development, the Navy, and even for the Manhattan (nuclear weapons development) project.

The war was over, and the Allies celebrated the victory. I think the country's leadership should have thanked the fighters of the invisible scientific front for their services, but everything went a different way. The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) accused Blanche of being a communist. The arguments were stupid to the impossible: she had no husband and children, and her sister was connected with the Communist Party. Gertrude was not going to bow her head and agree with the wrongness of the authorities. She demanded a hearing on this issue, which successfully proved her innocence.

After going through this next difficult stage, Blanche began working at the Institute of Numerical Analysis at the University of California and at the Wright-Patterson aerospace research laboratory at the US Air Force Base.

US Air Force Base Wright Patterson

In 1947, the Computer Technology Association was formed - an international organization in the field of computer technology, one of the first members of which was Gertrude Blanche.

Blanche's work did not go unnoticed and in 1962 she was elected representative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, founded back in 1848. The purpose of this organization is to bring together scientists, the development of science and scientific freedoms, as well as the promotion of research and development.

Gertrude Blanche during a dinner party in her honor (1963)

After retiring in 1969, Blanche did not stop working with brains. Mathematics and computing were her world. She worked on the functions of Mathieu, focusing on the use of continuous fractions in order to achieve the most accurate results with a small number of computational actions.

Unfortunately for the entire scientific community, Gertrude Blanche passed away in 1996 without ever publishing this work.

Gertrude Blanche could boast not only outstanding knowledge in the field of mathematics or excellent leadership and leadership talents, but also a strong spirit. On her way to science, which she loved so much, there were many obstacles that would break a weak person. But she was strong. Strong mind, strong and soul.

Francis Allen

Sometimes the path of fate can lead a person not quite to where he intended. But this new path is not always, a new turn means failure, sometimes it is a happy occasion.

Francis Allen was born on August 4, 1932 in the town of Peru, New York, in the family of a farmer and elementary school teacher. Francis was the eldest of 6 children in the family. She spent her childhood on a farm, away from busy cities. In school years, her idol was a teacher in mathematics, which, apparently, inspired her to the idea of ​​becoming a teacher in this field. After leaving school, Frances entered the University of New York at Albany (at that time it was a teacher training college in New York), where she received a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1954. She became a master in the same field after some 3 years at the University of Michigan. Among other things, Francis took computer courses, where she studied programming on an IBM 650 computer.
IBM 650

Having completed the educational phase of her life, Francis began her career as a teacher in her hometown of Peru. However, this did not last long. The fact is that education for Francis was expensive not only in time and labor, which she put into it, but also from a financial point of view. In order to pay off her debts for her studies, in 1957, Miss Allen joined the team at the John Watson Research Center at IBM. Two months before, a new high-level programming language, Fortran, was released. The leadership set a clear task for Miss Allen - to train the staff of the research center in this language and popularize it among users. Given that Fortran was something completely new, Francis had to learn it herself, picking at the source code of the compiler. On this occasion, she said:
Это зажгло во мне интерес к компилированию и заложило основы моего восприятия компиляторов, поскольку все это было организовано в том виде, который напрямую стал наследием современных компиляторов.
Such a strong interest in compilers could not bear fruit. Allen initially worked on improving compilers for the IBM Research Center. Namely, over a controlled operating system, automatic debugging.

A significant event in the career of Francis Allen was the work on the IBM 7950 computer, which was called Harvest, and the IBM 7030 Stretch.

IBM 7030 Stretch The
IBM 7030 was one of the first supercomputers. And Harvest was a coprocessor (in other words, a special processor that increases the capabilities of the central one). Harvest was developed specifically for the NSA (National Security Agency) to decrypt messages.

The work was difficult, but Allen and her team coped with it perfectly, while creating something new. Namely, a single compiler framework for three programming languages ​​- Fortran, Autocoder and Alpha (designed to quickly detect patterns in random text using any alphabet). A common feature of compilers was an optimizing backend with the ability to generate code for both Stretch and its Harvest coprocessor.

When the project was completed, Allen became an IBM representative and curator of the installation and configuration of computers within the NSA. Harvest / Stretch worked from 1962 to 1976. This supercomputer was not commercially available, so the one that was in the NSA was one of a kind.

The success of Harvest / Stretch prompted IBM to offer Francis work on the System / 360. However, this work would require her to travel a lot, because Allen refused. Instead, she rejoined the John Watson Research Center, and more specifically, the “Project Y,” which later became known as the “Advanced Computing Systems” project.

The project was aimed at improving computer systems. The hardware can be described as the first superscalar processor that could perform more than one task, as its predecessors did, but several at once. It was also possible to execute them in the “wrong” order in order to speed up the process of completing all tasks.

There was also revolutionary innovation on the part of the compilers - stream analysis, which allows the compiler to automatically optimize programs to significantly increase performance. The bottom line was to present the program inside the compiler not as a sequence of operations, but as a mathematical graph that can be analyzed to detect hidden properties of the code. For example, the value obtained during the calculation can be used in another part of the code, or, conversely, it will not be unambiguously used in another piece of code.

To implement this whole process, the edges of the graph were marked with a mathematical set, after which this set was depicted as an extremely compact data structure (1 bit of memory for each element of the set). This allowed us to process the data sets very quickly. Thus, the speed of the compiler and the program itself increased significantly.

Francis Allen lecture on “Optimizing Compilers for Parallel Computers” (August 1994)
In the early 70s, IBM decided to start a revolution in the computer world by organizing the Future Systems project, aimed at improving systems with modern hardware. Allen was sent to this project, but believed that machine architecture was far from perfect and this could severely limit performance. She tried to convey her opinion to the leadership, but no one listened. As a result, the project was closed, having existed for only 4 years.

Francis Allen decided to move away from research and engage in teaching. She began lecturing compilers for students at the Kuranti Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, where she was invited by Jacob Schwartz (creator of SETL and NYU). People with common views and interests are doomed to be together. This happened with Francis and Jacob, who soon married.

Allen did not stop working at IBM. After a short break, she joined the ECS (Experimental Compilation Systems) project. Like compilers for Harvest / Stretch, these should also work for several languages, but the lion's share of the attention was paid to the new PL / I language.

The last big project in Francis Allen’s career was PTRAN (Parallel Translator), a Fortran language compilation system for implementing on parallel architectures. Her extensive experience in analyzing interprocessor flow allowed Allen to create new algorithms for extracting parallelism from serial PTRAN code, which as a result became known as the “Dependency Graph”, which is still used in many parallelization compilers.

Over a long career, until 2002, Allen received many awards, honorary degrees and deserved recognition. One of them: 1989 - IBM Fellow (the first woman to receive this title), 1991 - IEEE Fellow (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), 1994 - ACM Fellow (Association of Computer Engineering), etc.

* Fellow - in this context it can be translated as “a member of the scientific community”, the honorary title and position that those who have made a significant contribution to the development of a particular field of activity, in this case computer technology, get the honorary title.

In addition to the above, Francis Allen was also the first woman to be awarded the Turing Prize for her contribution to computer optimization.

Francis Allen talks about receiving the Turing Prize and about changes in computer technology and their impact on people / society and various areas of their lives.
Francis Allen did not seek to create something new, her main goal was to improve what is already there. However, do not underestimate the significance of this work. After all, we now all know very well from our own experience how pleasant it is when a program works faster and more efficiently. After all, no one wants to waste time.


What epithet comes to mind after reading the stories of the above women? Ingenious. Each of them showed the world its most powerful side - its mind. Overcoming many problems, literally paving their way to the world of science, they earned their place among its best representatives. First of all, they are scientists, researchers, inventors and thinkers. They say it is not in vain - they are greeted on the cover, but they are escorted to the mind. So, all of them should be “escorted” with applause.

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