Posted October 23rd, 2009
Famed computer scientist Frances Elizabeth “Fran” Allen will be the 12th Lynford Lecturer to speak at Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Institute said today.
Allen, an award-winning computer scientist and pioneer in the area of optimizing compilers in programming and parallelization of processors, was named IBM’s first female fellow in 1989. She was also the first woman to receive the A.M. Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize for computing, which she received in 2006.
Her lecture, “The Challenge of the Multicores,” will explore new paths to increasing computer performance. The event will take place on November 19 at 4:00 p.m. and is open to the public.
Allen was an IBM employee for 45 years. Her work in algorithms and technologies are the basis for the theory of program optimization widely used today, and her services were recruited by the National Security Agency in its code-breaking endeavors during the Cold War.
Computers have traditionally used complex “cores” to manage and execute computations. Over the years, their performance has increased; however, fundamental limitations of size, heat and energy have emerged. To overcome these limitations, complex cores are being displaced by multicores that are simpler, more numerous and can be used more flexibly.
Multicore computers are ushering in a new era of parallelism. As more cores are available, the potential performance of a system can increase at the traditional rate by the use of the inherent parallelism. Or can it? How will users and applications take advantage of all the parallelism? This talk will review some of the history of languages and compilers for high-performance systems and consider opportunities for performance on multicore systems. The talk is intended to encourage the exploration of new approaches including how users will continue to code sequential and run parallel.
Each year, NYU-Poly’s Lynford Lecture features a prominent thinker who explains complex information and important ideas with clarity and concision. The series is made possible by philanthropist Jeffrey H. Lynford, vice chairman of the NYU-Poly Board of Trustees, trustee of New York University, New York State Council on the Arts member and chairman of Reis Inc.; his wife, Tondra Lynford, and NYU-Poly’s Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing (IMAS). The Lynfords were instrumental in bringing IMAS co-directors Drs. David and Gregory Chudnovsky to NYU-Poly. Past Lynford Lecture speakers include Gerald M. Rubin, genome sequence pioneer, and Alan Kay, pioneer of the modern personal computer.