[FOM] More about the Turing Year (From Barry Cooper)

Martin Davis martin.david.davis at gmail.com
Mon Jan 9 11:07:31 EST 2012

More exciting news (in order received) as the Alan Turing Year gets into
its stride:

(1) First some book news - The long anticipated re-publication of Sara
Turing's biography of her son from Cambridge University Press is already
on Amazon for pre-order. Entitled simply "Alan M. Turing", it includes a
new foreword from Martin Davis, plus the original moving tribute from Max
Newman's wife Lyn Irvine. Also there is a historically fascinating,
previously unpublished piece by John Turing written after his brother
Alan's death in 1954. Expect an engrossing read. The CUP webpage:

Already published from Martin Davis (on December 13) is the 2nd edition of
his excellent "The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing".
As the CRC blurb starts "The breathtakingly rapid pace of change in
computing makes it easy to overlook the pioneers who began it all." There
is some added coverage of Konrad Zuse for this new addition - see:

Another major publishing event is the US Centenary Edition of Andrew
Hodges' "Alan Turing: The Enigma" from Princeton University Press:

One more worth mentioning (more in the next update), also available for
pre-order from Amazon, is "Alan Turing: His Work and Impact":

>From publisher Elsevier: "This new and exciting book, scheduled to publish
for the 2012 centenary of Alan Turing's birth in London, includes a large
number of the most significant contributions from the 4-volume set of the
Collected Works of A. M. Turing.  These contributions, together with a
wide spectrum of accompanying commentaries from current world-leading
experts in many different fields and backgrounds, provide insight on the
significance and contemporary impact of A.M. Turing's work."

(2) Natasha Joska writes from Florida: "I just want to add that there will
be a special Turing Centennial Lecture by Grzegorz Rozenberg at the 18th
DNA Computing and Molecular Programming conference in Aarhus, Denmark
August 14--17th." See the conference webpage:

(3) Jean Paul Truc wrote: "Thanks for your informations and happy new year
too. I'll probably use somme of them (translated in french) in the next
issue of our journal "Quadrature" (March\april).

We are very pleased to associate Quadrature, and by the way our
french-speaking readers, with the ATY celebration. We hope that the
epetition will be signed by many people ; French people should be grateful
to Alan Turing for the role he played during 2d world war at
Bletchley Park."

Much appreciated!

(4) From Bob Lubarsky (more from Florida) - a reminder about the very
special logic meeting he is organising, starting on January 13:

I take the liberty of quoting Bob, since he echoes a comment from another
distinguished gay mathematician, who thinks that the ATY has far too
little from or for the gay community in evidence: "I would not be
surprised if this is the only time a gay logician will speak about being
gay at an ATY event, as such topics typically don't fit into logic and CS
meetings." It is hard to deny this. The reasons are complex, and little
point in apportioning blame. But it would be nice to rectify. Suggestions
gratefully received and collated for the next update.

(5) Another nice piece of news from Paula Quinon: "Hello, In Lund we
organize a workshop devoted to "Philosophy and Computation" (for more
see: http://www.fil.lu.se/conferences/conference.asp?id=51&lang=se), the
event WAS inspired by the TURING CENTENARY celebration, and I was
wondering if it could be counted as an official centenary event."

An enthusiastic 'yes', of course. More info on this new ATY event at:

(6) For those finding all this a little too abstract - we have news via
Kelsey Griffin from Bletchley Park of a much more 'hands on' event -
Turing would have approved. Quoting from the new ATY Events entry:

"June 14, 2012: Software Craftsmanship 2012 returns to its spiritual home
at Bletchley Park for a 3rd year for the Turing Centenary. The definitive
international conference for the practicing software craftsman, SC2012
will bring together 250 passionate programmers to share ideas, practice
their techniques and learn from each other.
In aid of Bletchley Park, SC2012 will this year be celebrating the life
and work of computing pioneer and codebreaker, Alan Turing, with a theme
of "Computer Science for Software Craftsmen". Participants will be
encouraged to create and share coding exercises that explain data
structures and algorithms while reinforcing good coding practices. The
best exercises will be collected into a book aimed at self-taught
programmers and computer science students alike. Organiser: Jason Gorman"

(7) From ATY Media Contact Daniela Derbyshire, an official quote from the
Manchester Metropolitan University ATY team:

"MMU is orgainsing a number of events about the life and work of Alan
Turing, with participation from schools, students and the general
public in May 2012. These include competitions, performances and
lectures. There is a broad range of participation from schools in the
sciences and humanities areas. Contact Dr Jim O'Shea, School of
Computing, Mathematics and Digitial technology."

(8) Also from Manchester - Monday sees the start of the Alan Turing
Centenary Cryptography Competition, organised by Manchester University
Maths Dept - the website says "The Alan Turing Centenary Cryptography
Competition is a cryptography competition aimed at school children in
Years 7-11 to celebrate his centenary":

My 15-year-old daughter told me not to publicise the competition - she
wants her team of four to win! "Prizes will be presented at the University
of Manchester on Tuesday 12th June 2012 prior to the public lecture by
Andrew Hodges, Turing's biographer."

(9) And more interesting ATY news, from philosopher Sara Uckelman in the

"It's not a scholarly event or anything, but I thought the ATY
organizers might enjoy knowing that the comic strip Surviving
the World has issued a list of new holidays for 2012, of which
one is the celebration of Turing's birthday on June 23:
http://survivingtheworld.net/Lesson1280.html "

Prizes to those know who "Surviving the World" is - he's famous enough to
make money from his "Daily Lessons".

(10) Nachum Dershowitz responded to our item 3) from last time mentioning
the forthcoming 'special [Turing] issue of Galileo, the Israeli Magazine
of Science and Thought" with "It's out, with articles by Arnon Avron,
Yisrael Benyamini, and Moshe Sipper, and a preface" - see the cover at:


(11) Tilly Blyth tells us, far from being 'cagey', news of their Google
supported Turing exhibition is announced in a press release from just
before Christmas: http://bit.ly/vPmWnS

(12) Lots happening with the Isaac Newton Institute Turing programme,
starting with a public opening on Monday. Lead organiser Benedikt Loewe
reminds us:
"We have an exciting week ahead of us, and I would like to mention two
things just to make sure that none of you misses them" and goes on to give
details of the Monday 9 January 'Spitalfields Day' entitled "The
Mathematical Legacy of Alan Turing"; and other interesting (but more
specialist) seminars later in the week.

Also, Arnold Beckmann sends news of the workshop on "Logical Approaches to
Barriers in Complexity II", 26-30 March 2012. If you want to go, deadline
to apply is 26th January, details at:

(13) Down at 13 we have one of the big stories of this week, the special
Alan Turing commemorative postage stamp from the Royal Mail. See the
Guardian report "Codebreaker Alan Turing gets stamp of approval" from
Caroline Davies:

There was some disappointment from some that it was a 'faceless stamp of
approval', but a special First Day Cover from Bletchley Park Post Office
looks likely to rectify that. Actually, could be more than one design. One
superb one is from Rebecca Peacock of Firecatcher
(http://www.firecatcher.co.uk/) who designed the highly collectible poster
for the Turing Centenary Conference in Cambridge. Watch for news of the
designs (maybe) in the next update.

A picture of the stamp at this piece from Gay Star Nerws:

(14) Despite being hugely busy, and starting writing a new book, Simon
Singh tells us:

"I have four talks planned for 2011:

Jan 26, Winchester Skeptics in the Pub
Alan Turing and the Cracking of the Enigma COde

March 22, Cambridge Science Festival
Alan Turing and the Enigma Cipher

ACE 2012, date to be confirmed, Cambridge

Richmond Scientific Society, Alan Turing and the Enigma Cipher, autumn

(15) Marianne Freiberger from Cambridge says Plus Magazine is hoping to
include more articles for the Turing Centenary - they have a nice webpage
of previous articles related to Turing as Door #17 of their Plus Advent
Calendar, "Celebrating Alan Turing!" -

(16) From Liverpool University, Alan Greaves writes:
"I am organising a lecture to commemorate the Turing Centenary in
Liverpool University. Would it be possible to use your logo and add
the event to your listings online?" Yes!

(17) Professor Nihal Sinnadurai tells us that "the IEEE in the UK and
Ireland will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary during 2012 which is also
the year commemorating Alan Turing.

The IEEE celebrations in the UK will be on 4th July in London and on 6th
July in Edinburgh. I would like to include a Keynote Speaker on Alan
Turing at each event."

News of speakers to follow.

(18) A major news item just arrived on Friday,from ACM CEO John White:

"I wanted to give you an update on the ACM Turing Centenary
Celebration.  I am hoping you can update your website with this
information and include something in your next email update to the
community.  Below is a brief summary.  Attached is an ad that
appeared the January issue of CACM."

An extract from the summary:

ACM Turing Centenary Celebration - June 15-16, 2012
Palace Hotel, San Francisco

Website:  http://turing100.acm.org

The ACM A.M. Turing Centenary Celebration program centers on the ACM
A.M. Turing Award winners, 32 of whom will attend and participate in
the Celebration. The Technical Program, currently under development,
includes moderated panels and invited talks from select speakers and
focuses on Alan Turing's contributions, as well as the history, and
the future of computing. By bringing together so many ACM A.M. Turing
Award winners to reflect on Alan Turing's contribution and share
their views on the past and future of computing, the ACM A.M. Turing
Centenary Celebration will engage researchers, academics, students,
and the public in a conversation about the importance and direction
of our discipline.

And here is a pdf of the ad:

Pretty amazing stuff. And there is a likelihood of a webcast of the talks.

(19) The ePetition continues to get plenty of coverage, and currently is
approaching 21,000 signatures:

(20) We should mention that Ursula Martin, who sent us the Turing song
link last time, received a CBE in the New Year's Honours List "for
services to computer science": http://bit.ly/yQQCwm

Debora Rochfort wrote us a lovely letter, I must quote a bit:

"Thank you for the link to the Alan Turing song on Youtube- we watched
it with interest and found another link to yet another song about
Alan Turing:


It seems to have been written by the band (?) Skyscraper, though no
links exist with anyone to this song. However, we really enjoyed it;
it's very rock n'roll.

Thank you again, for inspiring, teaching and reminding so many people
about Alan Turing's work and his life. It is vital to keep in mind
that striving for justice has no time limit."

(21) From Professor Federico Gobbo:

"Perhaps you will be interested in the fact, that I was invited by
Nanjing University (China) to give a course in the first Esperanto
Winter School that will be hosted in the island of Hai Nan Dao, China,
from next 11 jan to 12 feb (1 month).

The interesting part is that the course is about History and Philosophy
of Computing, and because of the ATY a lot of space will be given
to Alan Turing's legacy, in particular the Universal Machine and
the Imitation Game.

All lectures will be given entirely in Esperanto, they will be filmed and
put on line for free asap. Moreover, the textbook I am currently writing
will be available under a Creative Commons license.

I think that this will be the first time that Alan Turing will be
explained in Esperanto at a University level, so I thought that this fact
might be of interest for you and the ATY in general.

More information about the course (in Esperanto only, sorry) here:

http://esperanto-insulo.info/kurso-gobbo.htm "

(22) From Toby Walsh in Australia:

"As the premier AI conference in 2012, I am pleased to pass on
news that Alan Turing's contributions will be honoured with
a number of events at the Twenty-Sixth Conference on Artificial
Intelligence (AAAI 2012).

The planned events include the inaugural AAAI Turing Lecture
which is to be delivered by Christos Papadmitriou. AAAI 2012
will run July 22 to 26, 2012 in Toronto. More details are
found at ww.aaai.org/Conferences/AAAI/aaai12.php

Can AAAI 2012 be listed therefore in the calendar of events
at http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/turing2012/ "

(23) Finally, from writer and remarkable person Loke Lay from Hong Kong, a
letter signifying the international dimension of the Turing Centenary:

Dear Raymond Lavas of Quebec,
+ Joan Feigenbaum of Yale, and other Turing-followers outside UK,

# As we are prevented by the HM Government to vote for Turing’s official
pardon, could we join together to start another e-petition (allying with
the one created earlier  by William Jones), outside UK, to collect
signatures all over the world,  NOT  to ask the HM Government to grant a
pardon to Alan Turing for the conviction of “gross indecency’, but to
profess, instead, no less officially, by the people, for the people, the
innocence of Alan Turing, whose integrity should be all-time solid, beyond
provisional laws.

# Though laws should not be easily altered by dictators for their own
selfish interests,  laws do change, and should change, with changing
ideologies.--Alan Turing is victim of a wrong law, a wrong court, a
wrong time, please go ahead, start a world-wide e-petition, and my
signature would be among the first ones, and Hong Kong will follow.

# I am sorry I am computer-shy. I am still learning, bit by bit, for


( Ada ) Loke Lay,
73-year-old Chinese journalist, Hong Kong, China.

(24) And - just one more - from Bob Bingham:

"A Happy New Year and thanks you for all the information on the ATY.
I have organised a talk on Alan Turing to be given by Andrew Hodges at the
STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on Thursday the 29th of March. I would
be grateful if you can include it in your list."


Mark Roberts has asked for a version of the Update which he can download
to his memory stick, so tomorrow I will put a link to one.

For those wanting to keep track of conference deadlines, I will circulate
a list in the next few days - those not interested can just delete it!

Just as I send this, news from Ely Runners of 2012 arrangements for their
races and training runs following riverside routes used by Alan Turing -
more on this next time.

And more arrived this evening, now kept for the next update, including a
message from Huma Shah with latest on Turing100 at Bletchley Park. Here is
her Call for Participation:

 ALAN TURING YEAR                           http://www.turingcentenary.eu
 ASSOCIATION COMPUTABILITY IN EUROPE      http://www.computability.org.uk
 Email:                                               pmt6sbc at leeds.ac.uk
 Facebook:       www.facebook.com/pages/The-Alan-Turing-Year/199853901070
 and    http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/Alan-Turing-Year/100000473465821
 Twitter:                               http://twitter.com/AlanTuringYear
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