Pioneering computer scientist Frances Allen died recently. She led development of the compiler, essential technology which allows programmers to more easily write apps that run efficiently on computer hardware.

Cade Metz:

In 1989 she became the first female IBM fellow, a rare honor bestowed on the company’s leading engineers, scientists and programmers. But when she received her award at an IBM retreat in Southern California, the company identified her as a man. (“In recognition and appreciation of his outstanding technical contributions …”)

The award — including the mistake — remained on her office wall until she retired in 2002.

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner