August 5, 2020 | Written by: IBM Research Editorial Staff
Categorized: IBM Fellows
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IBM Fellow Fran Allen spent her career advancing the field of computing and inspired generations of technologists.
Frances “Fran” Allen, a pioneer in the world of computing, the first female IBM Fellow and the first woman to win the Turing Award, died on August 4, 2020, the day of her 88th birthday.
Fran grew up on a farm in Peru, New York. She graduated from The New York State College for Teachers (now SUNY – Albany) with a B.Sc. in mathematics in 1954 and began teaching school back at her local school in Peru. After two years, she enrolled at the University of Michigan and earned an M.Sc. degree in mathematics in 1957. In debt with student loans, Fran joined IBM Research in Poughkeepsie, NY as a programmer on July 15, 1957, where she taught incoming employees the basics of FORTRAN. She planned to stay only until her debts were paid, however, she ended up spending her entire career at IBM. Fran retired from IBM in 2002, but remained affiliated with the company as a Fellow Emerita.