Susan Graham: The college’s first woman faculty member

For computer scientist Susan Graham, one of the advantages of working at a university, rather than a research lab, is the innovation inspired by her students. Such collaboration has resulted in ambitious research projects like Harmonia — a language-based framework for interactive software development —  and Titanium — a Java-based  system of language, compiler, and runtime support for explicitly parallel programs.

Susan Graham

Susan Graham (Peg Skorpinski photo)

When Graham joined UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering in 1973, she was the college’s first woman faculty member. So rare were female computer scientists in those days, it was 18 years before another woman joined her on the college’s faculty. Today Graham is the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Emerita. Her research areas have explored programming systems, software tools, human-computer interaction, scientific computing and software engineering, and her contributions to the field have influenced software development and high-performance computing.

Graham’s research teams have also innovated a sophisticated pattern-matching algorithm for generating machine code for high-level languages, scalable algorithms for program analysis, and tools for program debugging. As a participant in the Berkeley Unix project, she and her students built the Berkeley Pascal system and the widely used program profiling tool gprof.

Graham is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Berkeley Fellow. She is a former chair of the NSF-sponsored Computing Community Consortium and a former member of the United States President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

To learn more:

EECS biography

IEEE Computer Society biography

Engineering and Technology History Wiki

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