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In Memoriam: Frances Allen


CRA is sad to report that former CRA and CRA-W Board Member Frances “Fran” Allen passed away yesterday. Fran spent her career advancing the field of computing and inspired generations of technologists. She was a computing pioneer – the first woman to receive the A.M. Turing Award (2006) and the first woman to be named an IBM Fellow in 1989. Fran served as a speaker for CRA-W’s Discipline-Specific Mentoring program in 2008 and Career Mentoring Workshop in 2005.

From the IBM announcement:

As a pioneer in compiler organization and optimization algorithms, Fran made seminal contributions to the world of computing. Her work on inter-procedural analysis and automatic parallelization continues to be on the leading edge of compiler research. She successfully reduced this science to practice through the transfer of this technology to products such as the STRETCH HARVEST Compiler, the COBOL Compiler, and the Parallel FORTRAN Product.

As much as Fran will be remembered for her technical vision and her foundational work in computing, she will equally be remembered for her passion to inspire and mentor others, fostering an environment of perseverance and hard work throughout the IBM community.

When she wasn’t exploring new computing opportunities, Fran’s passions were climbing mountains and studying environmental issues. She was a member of the American Alpine Club and the Alpine Club of Canada, participating in exploratory expeditions to the Arctic and on the Chinese/Tibet border.

She will be dearly missed by CRA, CRA-WP and the entire computing community.