Finding the Great Problems

Barbara Liskov, MIT CSAIL (Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab)
With Ann Miura-Ko, Floodgate

Barbara Liskov was already breaking new ground in 1968, when she became one of the first American women to earn a doctorate in the emerging discipline of computer science. After receiving that PhD at Stanford, she went on to design several influential programming languages, including CLU, an important precursor to Java. More recently, as an Institute Professor at MIT and head of the institute’s Programming Methodology Group, she has undertaken crucial research on distributed systems, information security and complex system failure issues. She is one of fewer than 100 individuals to receive an A.M. Turing Award from the Association of Computing Machinery. In a conversation with host Ann Miura-Ko, a lecturer in Stanford’s Department of Management Science and Engineering and founding partner of the venture capital firm Floodgate, Liskov explores how she discovered the nascent field of computer science, how she recognized and surmounted a number of fundamental computing challenges, and shares her concerns and hopes about how computing will continue to transform our lives.