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Barbara Liskov (born Barbara Jane Huberman in 1939) is a computer scientist. She is currently the Ford Professor of Engineering in the MIT School of Engineering's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department and an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker. She earned her BA in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeleymarker in 1961. In 1968 Stanford Universitymarker made her the first woman in the United Statesmarker to be awarded a Ph.D. from a computer science department. The topic of her Ph.D. thesis was a computer program to play chess end games.

Liskov has led many significant projects, including the Venus operating system, a small, low-cost and interactive timesharing system; the design and implementation of CLU; Argus, the first high-level language to support implementation of distributed programs and to demonstrate the technique of promise pipelining; and Thor, an object-oriented database system. With Jeannette Wing, she developed a particular definition of subtyping, commonly known as the Liskov substitution principle. She leads the Programming Methodology Group at MITmarker, with a current research focus in Byzantine fault tolerance and distributed computing.

Liskov is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciencesmarker and of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In 2004 she won the John von Neumann Medal for "fundamental contributions to programming languages, programming methodology, and distributed systems". She is the author of three books and over a hundred technical papers.

Liskov received the 2008 Turing Award from the ACM for her work in the design of programming languages and software methodology that led to the development of object-oriented programming. Specifically, Liskov developed two programming languages, CLU in the 1970s and Argus in the 1980s. The ACM cited her contributions to the practical and theoretical foundations of "programming language and system design, especially related to data abstraction, fault tolerance, and distributed computing."

See also


  1. Profile from the National Academies of Engineering.
  2. *
  3. Top prize in computing goes to MIT professor from the website of The Boston Globe
  4. Barbara Liskov Wins Turing Award | March 10, 2009 from the Dr. Dobb's Journal website

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