Looking for books by Barbara Liskov?
Barbara Liskov pioneered the modern approach to writing code. MIT President Jerry Wiesner was pushing. Forty-three years later, she received an honorary doctorate at Northwestern’s 153rd commencement on June 17 for providing the basis for virtually every software program underpinning today’s society.
But by the late 1960s, advances in computing power had outpaced the abilities of programmers. In 2008, she won the Turing Award for her invention of the Liskov substitution principle, one of only three women to win that award so far (the other two are Fran Allen and Shafi Goldwasser). I was encouraged to do well in school. Meet our deans, chairs, school leaders, and advisory council. They wrote long, incoherent algorithms riddled with “goto” statements — instructions for the machine to leap to a new part of the program if a certain condition is satisfied. Why is this person notable and influential?
View our growth and timeline since the school was established in 1909. If this machine existed, then I could write the program I want. Plan your visit to campus and start your application. She is widely recognized for her work in programming languages, programming methodology, and distributed systems. John suggested this topic because I didn’t play chess. Quanta Magazine caught up with Liskov at her home following the Heidelberg Laureate Forum — an intimate, invitation-only gathering of computer scientists and mathematicians who have earned the most prestigious awards in their fields.
My husband was.
Title IX wasn’t a law yet, but pressure was building. That’s not how it is now. It would stifle their development. Some of it’s technical.
In the 10 years before I was head of computer science at MIT, the department identified only one woman worth hiring. As a computer scientist thinking about code, Liskov had no physical objects to work with.
She has also supervised some 78 doctoral dissertations. A panel of the old professors, without knowing what they were doing, described the old boy network. It doesn’t bubble up from the bottom. When she was still a young professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she led the team that created the first programming language that did not rely on goto statements.
Bad software eventually claimed lives, as when the Therac-25 computer-controlled radiation machine delivered massive overdoses of radiation to cancer patients. Liskov, who had studied mathematics as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to approach programming not as a technical problem, but as a mathematical problem — something that could be informed and guided by logical principles and aesthetic beauty. AI is an application rather than a core discipline.
I didn’t realize then that some people in my department had my back.
I’m very worried about the internet. Dr. Barbara Liskov is an Institute Professor at MIT. However, it is probably her work on programming methodologies for communication among distributed systems—including promise pipelining, subtyping, and, more recently, Byzantine fault tolerance---that has had the greatest impact on the field.
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