2012 is the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing and many events are planned during the course of the year to celebrate this fact. To mark the start of the year, a song encapsulates the story.
2012 is the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing and if you don't already know much about this Englishman who had a brilliant mind and a disturbed personality you soon will given the amount of attention he will receive in the coming months.
The Alan Turing Year website, set up to list and provide links to events, publications and competitions being organized in 2012, is the most comprehensive source of what is happening this year and is doing a really good job of being a hub.
There were already many sources of information about Alan Turing on the Internet. According to Andrew Hodges, one of his biographers, who maintains the Alan Turing Home Page, he was
founder of computer science, mathematician, philosopher, codebreaker, strange visionary and a gay man before his time
New "Centenary Editions" of Hodge's book, Alan Turing: The Enigma are due to be published this year.
A new book that takes the wider remit of the many computer projects that came to fruition in the UK in the immediate post-World War II period,
Alan Turing and his Contemporaries: Building the world's first computers
has been sponsored by the Computer Conservation Society (CSS) and is being published next month by the British Computer Society. The book will be launched at a CSS meeting at the Science Museum in London on March 15.
Contributors to the book will explain how the basic ideas for the stored-program computer originated and describe how teams at five UK locations built a number of prototype machines. The relative influence of Alan Turing in all of this will be assessed, through his contributions both to the theory and the practice of computing.
Later in the year the Science Museum will be the venue for a Turing Centenary exhibition explaining the birth of modern computing funded by Google as part of its multi-million dollar initiative to inspire the next generation of scientists.
The topic of Turing's contributions to computer science will be covered at length and in many locations during the year. The Turing Centenary Conference:CiE 2012 - How the World Computes, to be held at the University of Cambrige is one of a series of special event planned for celebrating Turing's unique impact on mathematics, computing, computer science, informatics, morphogenesis, artificial intelligence, philosophy and computational aspects of physics, biology, linguistics, economics and the wider scientific world.
It already has an impressive line up of plenary speakers and the deadline for the submission of papers is January 20, 2012.
Meanwhile a song written by Steve Pride, a group theorist in Glasgow, has been posted on You Tube and provides a succinct summary of Alan Turing's life:
We have recently seen how much neural networks can learn, but the latest example is very strange. Google has succeeded in teaching a neural network to be a computer simply by showing it programs and w [ ... ]