Alan Turing Year - New Documentary and Lots of Events
Written by Sue Gee   
Monday, 21 November 2011

Hundreds of events are planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth in 2012. Even before Turing Year officially begins, events kick off on November 21 with the UK screening of a TV documentary about Turing's life and legacy.


Alan Mathison Turing
(June 23, 1912 - June 8,1954)


Britain's Greatest Codebreaker, gets its first transmission on UK Television on Monday November 21 at 9.00 PM on Channel 4. According to its webpage:

In the last 18 months of his short life, Turing visited a psychiatrist, Dr Franz Greenbaum, who tried to help him. This film brings Turing's ideas to life by dramatising this relationship and these sessions, based on historical records, Turing's writings, and accounts of those who knew him.

The film includes the testimony of people who knew and remember Turing.

Plus, contemporary experts from the world of technology and high science, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, bring Turing's exciting impact up to the present day, explaining why, in many ways, modern technology has only just begun to explore the potential of Turing's ideas.

 An international version of the drama-documentary is planned to be ready for distribution by early March of 2012 and there are hours of so-far unused film and it is hoped to incorporate this into an expanded version. 

The film premiered at a BAFTA screening earlier this month sponsored by Google and recent article on BBC News reviews the way in which Google has been so active in supporting Turing-related initiatives, including the restoration of Bletchley Park where Turing was part of the code breaking team.

The work of Turing and others was a central foundation for all computing technology including the algorithms that underpin Google's internet search engine and the page-ranking technology.

"I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that without Alan Turing, Google in the form we know it would not exist," says Peter Barron, head of external relations for Google in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Among the events planned at Bletchley Park during 2012 is the annual Loebner Prize competition, to be held on May 15. On the actual centenary, June 23, a special Turing Test, organised by Professor Kevin Warwick will be staged there for members of the public to attempt to distinguish humans from chatbots and males from females.

Many conferences during 2012 will explore Turning's contributions and a new poster has just been produced for one to be held at the University of Cambridge, UK, from June 18-23.




CiE 2012 will celebrate Turing's unique impact on mathematics, computing, computer science, informatics, morphogenesis, philosophy and the wider scientific world. The deadline for paper submissions for this in Janary 20, 20102.

New artwork has also been added to Manchester University's Turing 100 website. Turing became Deputy Director of the computing laboratory at the University of Manchester in 1947 and it was there that he worked on software for the Manchester Mark I computer, devised the Turing Test and wrote his seminal part on artificial intelligence, Computing machinery and intelligence. The Alan Turing Centenary Conference to be held there 22-25 June already has an impressive line up of speakers:

Roger Penrose (Oxford), Vint Cerf (Google), Ed Clarke (CMU), Rodney Brooks (MIT), Tony Hoare (Microsoft), Yuri Matiyasevich (V.A.Steklov Institute of Mathematics, St.Petersburg), Michael Rabin (Harvard), Garry Kasparov, Frederick Brooks (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Don Knuth (Stanford), Leslie Valiant (Harvard), David Ferrucci (IBM), Andrew Yao (Tsinghua University), Adi Shamir (Weizmann Institute of Science).

This conference will also mark the beginning of the 3-year Turing Centenary Research Project - Mind, Mechanism and Mathematics and as part of the Alan Turing Year awards will be made for five Turing Research Fellowships and three Turing Scholarships for gifted younger researchers of age up to 25 years old. The submission deadline is December 16, 2011 and details can be found here.




Turing Year is by no means restricted to the UK. It's a worldwide phenomenon. The latest news on the Alan Turing Year website is for the events planning in Brazil. So wherever you are, consult the site to discover when and where local celebrations are happening.

More information:

Britain's Greatest Codebreaker

Alan Turing Year website

Manchester University Turing 100

CiE 2012: How the World Computes

Turing Centenary Research Project

Related articles:

Alan Turing - born on this day 99 years ago

Leonardo di Caprio to play Alan Turing?

Turing's Test, the Loebner Prize and Chatterbots

Alan Turing's ACE

From Baby to Mark 1




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