Alan Turing

08.19.2012

The driving force behind modern computers, Alan Turing was born a hundred years ago.  He launched the digital age, founded the fields of computer science and artificial intelligence,   and helped the British win WWII by cracking the Nazi "Enigma" codes.  He was persecuted by British authorities for the crime of being homosexual, and committed suicide at age 41.  His life ended tragically, but his brilliance lives in the computers we use every day.  We celebrate the Alan Turing Year. 

  1. Codebreaker: Patrick Sammon on Alan Turing

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    Codebreaker, a new film by Patrick Sammon, tells the story of the brilliant life and tragic death of Alan Turing.  He died at age 41, having revolutionized our world by inventing the first computer programs -- and then computers themselves. 

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  2. Andrew Hodges on Alan Turing

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    Alan Turing was one of the most original thinkers of the 20th century.  His work ushered in the digital age and paved the way for computers and artificial intelligence.  Andrew Hodges explains why Turing is considered the father of the computer.

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  3. Mohan Embar on the Turing Test

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    Every year, the judges of the Loebner Prize award a prize to the "most human" computer program.  This year's winner was Mohan Embar, creator of a chatbot called Chip Vivant.

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  4. Alan Garner on Alan Turing

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    Alan Turing wasn't just a brain.   He was also an accomplished athlete -- a runner, who nearly made it to the Olympics.   British writer Alan Garner knew Alan Turing as his friend and running partner.

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  5. Brian Christian on the Loebner Prize

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    Brian Christian is the author of "The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive."  In 2009, he won the annual Loebner Prize -- awarded to the computer program that comes closest to passing the Turing Test for artificial intelligence.  Christian won for being the "most human human."

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  6. George Dyson on Turing's Cathedral

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    George Dyson grew up in the backyard of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where some of the most brilliant engineers and mathematicians in the world (including his parents) were building one of the first computers.  His new book, "Turing's Cathedral", is the story of their quest to build a working computer.

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  7. Neal Stephenson on "Reamde"

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    If you like novels about computers and the history of technology, then you must know Neal Stephenson's work.  The author of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle talks with us about his new novel -- a fast-paced thriller about the world of hyper-gaming.  It's called "Reamde."

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