MIT professors honored with Turing Award and $250,000

Cambridge (MA) – The second woman ever to win the award, Dr. Barbara Liskov was honored today for pioneering new designs in the computer languages which make digital appliances secure. Her designs will make computer programs more reliable, secure and easy to use.

MIT President, Susan Hockfield, had this to say about Liskov: “Computer science stands squarely at the center of MIT’s identity, and Institute Professor Barbara Liskov’s unparalleled contributions to the field represent an MIT ideal: groundbreaking research with profound benefits for humankind. We take enormous pride that she has received the Turing Award.”

Said MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif, “Her exceptional achievements have leapt from the halls of academia to transform daily life around the world. Every time you exchange e-mail with a friend, check your bank statement online or run a Google search, you are riding the momentum of her research.”

Liskov was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University in 1968. She’s been a professor at MIT since 1972. Her early software design work has been incorporated into various programming languages for the past three decades, including data abstraction concepts (which make it not only easier to write and maintain software, but also easier to implement software changes on varying hardware over time).

The Turing is an award given by The Association for Computing Machinery, and is named for the late British mathematician, Alan Turing. It was given to Liskov not only for her lifelong devotion to the computer sciences. [Note: This is not an award given for winning the Turing Test, which is a test of the realism of artificial intelligence, which was also created by Alan Turing.]

Google provided the $250,000 award fund, which will be given to Liskov at the official award ceremony in June.

See MIT’s press release.

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