I recently read in the New York Times that my old "Data Structures and Algorithms" class professor Dr. Ullman had received the Turing Award along with Dr. Aho. The article title was "Turing Award Goes to Creators of Computer Programming Building Blocks".
Now, I think of of "computer programming building blocks" as things like class libraries (or maybe data structures and algorithms) but the story mentioned compiler design:
"On Wednesday, the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest society of computing professionals, said Dr. Aho and Dr. Ullman would receive this year’s Turing Award for their work on the fundamental concepts that underpin computer programming languages. ... Dr. Aho and Dr. Ullman helped refine one of the key components of a computer: the “compiler” that takes in software programs written by humans and turns them into something computers can understand."
Can anyone provide a one-sentence summary of their technical contributions, written in layman's terms?