Turing Centennial Celebration at Princeton |

Written by Historian |

Sunday, 20 May 2012 |

During Alan Turing Year celebrations are being held all over the world; many in places Turing himself never visited. He did, however, spend two years at Princeton University which has just held a three-day conference to mark its association with Turing. In 2008 Alan Turing was voted as the second most influential Princetonian in its history - top pf the poll was James Madison, Princeton's first graduate student in 1771 and President of the USA from 1809-1817. Turing was at Princeton for two years from 1936 and didn't really fit in. He wrote to his mother that it was hard to be recognized when Einstein and von Neumann were just down the hall. Once he had gained his PhD with the dissertation
So how had it come about that Turing, who was a loner and shy to the point of being a social misfit, had arrived at Princeton where he found himself in such elevated company? As a graduate student at Cambridge University, Turing wrote his seminal paper Max Newman, Turing's supervisor at Cambridge, wrote to Church telling him of Turing's work:
Turing was one of Church's graduate students in the Department of Mathematics. During his two-year stay not only did he complete his PhD dissertation, he wrote a paper on lambda calculus, two papers on group theory and an addition to On Computable Numbers which mapped his work to that of Church. However, apart from Von Neumann few people seemed to take notice of him. According to an account by Jon Edwards, co-coordinator of the Princeton Turing Centennial Celebration:
Edwards also notes that Church appeared not to count Turing as one of his students, stating in an interview in 1984:
However, with hindsight Princeton now counts Alan Turing as one of its prestigious alumni and has mounted a series of events to mark the association. Celebrations commenced in April when Turing biographer, Professor Andrew Hodges from Oxford University delivered a lecture, Alan Turing: An Atlantic Perspective:
Princeton University Press has also published a centenary US edition of Andrew Hodges book, The other book to come out for the centenary celebration is Andrew Appel has also made a short video,
In the video Appel, who is the current Professor of Computer Science at Princeton says:
Turing's legacy, as well as the future of computing was discussed at the Princeton Turing Centennial Conference where speakers included eight winners of the Turing Award. Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave the Public Address and his talk was recorded in its entirety:
Most of the other speakers consented to have their talks recorded and they are expected to be available. Until then a summary of the eighteen one-hour talks is available courtesy of Dick Lipton and Ken Regan's as Turing’s Tiger Birthday Party. ## More InformationA History of Early Computing at Princeton Turing's Graduate School file (pdf) Facsimile of Turing's PhD dissertation (pdf) 2012 The Alan Turing Year - a compendium of events ## Related ArticlesTuring Year: The Legacy Explored Widespread Celebrations But No Pardon For Turing Commemorative Stamp for Alan Turing Alan Turing Year - New Documentary and Lots of Events Alan Turing - born on this day 99 years ago Computer history under the hammer
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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 July 2013 ) |