Solving the Software Crisis

Barbara Liskov, MIT CSAIL (Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab)
In conversation with: Ann Miura-Ko, Floodgate

In the late 1960s, after writing a thesis that applied AI to chess and earning her PhD in computer science at Stanford, Barbara Liskov returned to Mitre Corporation. Within a few years, she found herself doing research related to the “software crisis.” She describes how, while working on her Venus operating system, she was able to divide a computer program into smaller, discrete units. That very practical solution became a fundamental concept that guides how computer programs are built. She explains how accepting a faculty position at MIT then allowed her to fully devote herself to the problem of programming methodology.