Fran Allen: Clever Translation – Compilers

Fran Allen

Image credit: Rama CC BY-SA 2.0 fr


Fran Allen’s research on compilers is considered to be some of the most pioneering work in computer science history. Compilers translate programs from a hi-level human-readable form to machine code that is run by the computer. Fran developed techniques which split programs into parts so that the parts could run in parallel. This approach resulted in programs finishing in a much shorter time and involved representing code, not as a sequence of instructions but as parts of a mathematical graph.

Fran Allen was awarded the most prestigious computer science award for her work, the Turing Award, a computing version of an Olympic Medal.

Read more about Fran’s research on the  cs4fn website.


Computing: Research on the different layers of translation that are needed to take a command written in a high-level programming language, like Scratch or Python, to activate the electronic components inside a computer. Find out about machine code and binary.


This work was supported by the Institute of Coding, which is supported by the Office for Students (OfS).