Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Barbara Liskov wins Turing Award!

What an amazing day! I was just casually checking my e-mail and what do I find out? That another woman has won the Turing Award!

MIT Press Release
ACM Press Release

Although I feel bad to be surprised about the fact a woman has won (why should anyone be surprised about that??), I don't know how I could not be excited. When Fran Allen won it seemed like a barrier had been broken, but it still seemed like it would a long time before the community was willing to honor another woman. Apparently we are better than I thought! From reading through the press releases she sounds like an amazing researcher. I wanted to share a few paragraphs from the ACM Press Release:

The award cites Liskov for her foundational innovations to designing and building the pervasive computer system designs that power daily life. Her achievements in programming language design have made software more reliable and easier to maintain. They are now the basis of every important programming language since 1975, including Ada, C++, Java, and C#. The Turing Award, widely considered the "Nobel Prize in Computing," is named for the British mathematician Alan M. Turing. The award carries a $250,000 prize, with financial support provided by Intel Corporation and Google Inc.

The first U.S. woman to be awarded a Ph.D. from a computer science department (in 1968 from Stanford University), Liskov revolutionized the programming field with groundbreaking research that underpins virtually every modern computer application for both consumers and businesses. Her contributions have led to fundamental changes in building the computer software programs that form the infrastructure of our information-based society. Her legacy has made software systems more accessible, reliable, and secure 24/7.

I want to go dance around the block! Maybe one day (in many decades) my research will be great enough to receive this type of acknowledgment. Once can only hope! Despite her obviously being a deserving recipient, her success will help highlight what great things women can do (and are already doing) in the field of computer science.

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