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Alan Turing's 100th Birthday - Mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, scientist (wikipedia.org)
146 points by sparknlaunch on June 22, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments

I persuaded New Scientist to open the special on Turing that I wrote to non-subscribers: http://blog.jgc.org/2012/06/new-scientists-instant-expert-on...

I don't think it's possible to celebrate Turing's life without mentioning how his life ended. Turing was without a doubt a war hero. His work allowed the Allies to crack the Nazi's enigma code, without which the war could have gone very differently. Nonetheless, a few years after the war the UK government, upon discovering that Turing was gay, prosecuted him for homosexual activities and treated him horrifically. His security clearance was revoked, and it's not hard to imagine that this had something to do with his suicide at age 42. Just something to keep in mind on this gay pride weekend.

It seems the barbarians of medievalism and quackery are always there just outside the gates, ready to drag us back into the dark ages if those who value science over superstition don't proactively keep the light burning.

Anyone know of any Turing events going on in the Bay Area?

There was the ACM Turing 100 conferences last week, but you had to register a while ago. It was a really great celebration, with interventions by a lot of Turing prices (Don Knuth, Vint Cerf, etc.). If you like theoretical computer science, you should definitely take the time to watch the video at [2].

[1]: http://turing100.acm.org/index.cfm?p=home [2]: http://turing100.acm.org/index.cfm?p=webcast

So unfortunately, in the end, the Nazis did manage to kill him.

No, not the Nazi's. Homophobia killed him.

It's easy to pretend that it's was the Nazi's and that the Nazi = "Speak German and worship Hitler", and so long as you don't do that, then you're OK and nothing you do or say can be linked to the end of Turing's life.

There is homophobia in many many cultures, all over the place. Even Great Britain.

Exactly, and my point is that these homophobes, racists, etc. have much more in common with the Nazis than their passports make them believe. You could also argue that fighting against Hitler laid bare the hypocrisy of racial injustice in the United States of America, sparking the Civil Rights movement.

There's a conference in his honour this weekend in Manchester, where he did much of his work. On the list of speakers are Hoare, Knuth, Penrose, Cerf, Kasparov, Fred Brooks, Rodny Brooks, Shamir, and many others. It's quite exciting to get so many luminaries in the same event.


Edit: It's also quite expensive!


A friend asked me this morning if I fancied the Turing event this evening in Manchester. I'm currently skint and a bit under the weather so I had to pass. Seeing the list of speakers I momentarily felt a lot more unwell until I realised that this wouldn't be the same event!

It was only Jack Copeland today. I had to miss that one as well.

The other public (free) lecture is the Penrose lecture on Monday at 20:00. You still have to register online I think.

I'm participating in an event tonight in Seattle that commemorates Turing's life and work: http://synthesist.net/music/turing/

It's very avant-garde -- sort of a mix between a concert and an exhibit. I'm not 100% sure what to expect from it, since I've only been working with a few of the musical elements. It looks interesting though.

Check out Google's doodle commemorating Turing's birthday.


Why .nz?

.co.uk I could understand, .com ,being the main site, would be an honour, even .de would be subtly ironic - but I can't see the connection with kiwis

Does each Google fiefdom get to do it's own toys without the express command of the chocolate factory?

New Zealand is ahead of the US and UK. Google's Doodles are timed by local time and locality. So NZ gets them before the US does.

EDIT: Actually, it's quite interesting to look at Google's page about doodles. Most of the doodles will never be seen by you, since they are country-specific.

I see, although it does leave the question - if New Zealand is in the future why do they have Hobbits?

"All this has happened before, and all this will happen again."


Yes I remember you saying that !

Other than the timing differences that TazeTSchnitzel describes, SquareWheel might be from NZ, so .nz is their default Google landing page.

I am not, it was based on timezone.

Here's to a man who brought newtonian's out of the stone age. Chaos baby,...Chaos.

Ref: http://youtu.be/R6NnCOs20GQ

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