The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is holding its A.M. Turing Centenary Celebration in San Francisco, CA, today and Saturday — marking the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth by bringing together 33 living Turing Award winners for the first time, and raising awareness of Turing, reflecting on his contributions, and discussing the fundamental importance of computing and computer science. The event, which kicks off at 12pm EDT this afternoon, will be streamed live via the web. Over 1,000 in-person attendees are expected.
As Vint Cerf, the General Chair for the celebration and himself the 2004 ACM Turing Award winner, writes (following the link):
As we celebrate the life of the man who asked whether machines could think, we welcome the ACM Turing Award winners and members of the computing community who have joined together to commemorate this pioneer whose work laid many of the foundations of our discipline.
Alan Turing’s wide-ranging interests ranged from the purely theoretical to the eminently practical. He contributed to our fundamental understanding of what can be computed through the invention of what we now refer to as the Universal Turing Machine. On the practical side, his work on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) drew upon his wartime experience at Bletchley Park and blazed trails toward the breakthrough technology of stored-program computing.
The accomplishments of the Turing Award winners represented at this celebration continue to validate the enduring power of Turing’s work. This program is organized to reflect facets of Turing’s contributions that have placed him in prominence in the history of computing.
Individual speakers will focus on the use of computable reals in successful verification techniques for safety-critical systems; transformational thinking about programming language and computer design; examining computers that engage with the physical world in ways not previously possible; and the future of Lambda Calculus: the smallest universal programming language in the world.
Panelists will discuss a range of topics that reflect connections to Turing and his legacy: personal stories of Turing the man; imagining the future of artificial intelligence; how the Turing machine model shaped Computer Science; and information, data and security in a networked world.
Additional panel discussions include: programming language design legacies and lessons; the extension of Turing’s vision of human memory via computer architecture research; how systems research and engineering practices complement and challenge each other; and the impact of algorithmic thinking beyond computation.
Alan Turing’s genius has inspired generations of computer scientists and engineers, and it is fitting that his legacy and life should be recognized and celebrated by the community that carries on and extends his work.
Read more about ACM’s Turing Centenary Celebration here and here – and view a recently revamped Turing website that features profiles, Turing Award lectures, and additional materials for each of the Turing Award winners.
(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)