Turing Award Now Million Dollar Prize
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 14 November 2014

Starting with the 2014 award, the ACM A.M. Turing Award will be $1,000,000, four times its previous level. All the funding will be provided by Google.




We have previously described the Turing award as"the Nobel Prize for Computer Science" and thanks to Google it now has a financial reward to merit that label. 

According to the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) which administers the award the increased cash:

reflects the escalating impact of computing on daily life through the innovations and technologies it enables. The new level is also intended to raise the Turing Award's visibility as the premier recognition of computer scientists and engineers who have made contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the computing field. 

Established in 1966 the award is made annually and is named to honor Alan Mathison Turing, who, to quote the ACM,

"laid the foundation for today’s always-on, interconnected world". 

There are already 61 recipients of the prize, which was formerly funded by Google and Intel. The first award was made to Alan J Perlis and other former winners (links take you to articles about them on I Programmer) include Maurice Wilkes, Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy, Edgar Dijkstra, Donald Knuth, John Backus, Tony Hoare, Edgar Codd, Ken Thomson and Dennis Ritchie, Niklaus Wirth, Ivan Sutherland, Douglas Engelbart and Alan Kay. Google's Vinton Cerf, together with Robert Kahn, won the award in 2004 and other recent winners are Barbara Liskov (2008), Leslie Valiant (2010), Judea Pearl (2011), Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali  (2012) and Leslie Lamport (2013).




Commenting on the new funding ACM President and professor in the Department of Computing at Imperial College, London, Alexander Wolf said:

"The Turing Award is now funded at the monetary level of the world's most prestigious cultural and scientific awards and prizes. With the generous support of Google, we can celebrate the mainstream role of computing in transforming the world and the way we communicate, conduct business, and access entertainment. We can also commemorate the pioneering, fundamental contributions of our ACM Turing Award recipients in advancing computing as a science and a profession."


On behalf of Google, Stuart Feldman, VP of Engineering said:

"Google is proud to support ACM's Turing Award. We think it’s important to recognize when people make fundamental contributions in computer science, and we want to help ACM raise awareness of these innovators and the contributions they’ve made to the world."

Nominations, which are made online, are currently open for the 2014 Turing Award (the deadline is November 30th). 

Will the increased prize money lead to a sudden rush of new nominations for the award committee, chaired by Barbara Liskov, to choose between? We probably won't know as the ACM only ever announces the name of the winner, an individual or a two- or three-person team.

The name(s) of the first $1 million Turing Award winner will be announced in Spring 2015 and he, she, or they, will receive the award at the 2014 ACM Awards banquet next June. 



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