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Barbara Liskov

Institute Professor, 2008 - present

Associate Provost for Faculty Equity, 2007 - present

Ford Professor of Engineering

Institute Professor, 2008 - present

Associate Provost for Faculty Equity, 2007 - present

Ford Professor of Engineering

Barbara Liskov
Institute Professor, 2008 - present
Associate Provost for Faculty Equity, 2007 - present
Ford Professor of Engineering

A pioneer in the field of computer science, Barbara Liskov was the first woman in the US to earn a PhD in computer science. She currently heads MIT’s Programming Methodology Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and is the 2009 winner of the Turing Award. Professor Liskov’s research interests include distributed systems, replication algorithms to provide fault-tolerance, programming methodology, and programming languages. Her current research projects include Byzantine-fault-tolerant storage systems, peer-to-peer computing, and support for automatic deployment of software upgrades in large-scale distributed systems.

Highlights of this interview include:

  • Origins of data abstraction in software engineering.
  • Creation of CLU, an object-oriented programming language that uses clusters to provide coherent handling of abstract data types.
  • Role of Argus as a foundational language for networking and modern search engines.
  • Concepts for creating fault-tolerant systems that resist errors and hacking.
  • Research into techniques that enable systems to continue operating, despite the failure of component parts.
  • Challenges of being one of the first women to enter a male-dominated discipline.

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