Alan Turing was one of the greatest computer scientists of the twentieth century. He formalized the idea of a universal abstract computer called the Turing Machine. He is also well known for the Turing Test (to check if a computer can fool humans to think they are communicating with a human). The Turing Award is the biggest award in the foundations of computer science:
ACM’s most prestigious technical award is accompanied by a prize of $250,000. It is given to an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community. The contributions should be of lasting and major technical importance to the computer field. Financial support of the Turing Award is provided by the Intel Corporation and Google Inc.
The 2008 Turing Award has been given to Barbara Liskov for contributions to practical and theoretical foundations of programming language and system design, especially related to data abstraction, fault tolerance, and distributed computing.
The BBC has also covered the award and has summarized Liskov’s achievements:
Professor Liskov’s design innovations have, over the decades, made software more reliable and easier to maintain. She has invented two computer progamming languages: CLU, a forerunner of modern object-oriented ones and Argus, a distributed programming language. Liskov’s groundbreaking research underpins virtually every modern computer application, forming the basis of modern programming languages such as Java, C# and C++. One of the biggest impacts of her work came from her contributions to the use of data abstraction, a method for organising complex programs.