ACM Turing Award Winners Assess How Computing Will Shape the Next Century

ACM Turing Award Winners Assess How Computing Will Shape the Next Century

Technology Giants Celebrate Alan Turing—the Man, the Scientist, and the Visionary

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold
[email protected]

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SAN FRANCISCO – June 18, 2012 – More than 30 ACM Turing Award winners joined with a host of other world-renowned computer scientists and technology pioneers at the ACM Turing Centenary Celebration on June 15 and 16, to honor and evaluate the life and legacy of Alan Turing.  An audience of over 1,000 attendees gathered at the Palace Hotel to hear the leading innovators of the digital age as they celebrated Turing's wide-ranging contributions to computing, and projected how the future of today's always-on, interconnected world will unfold. Turing, known as the father of modern computing, envisioned the power of the thinking machine and opened the way for innovations that continue to change the world.  His name is attached to the highest award in computer science, the ACM A.M. Turing Award.  The event, which was broadcast live, is available as a webcast. Photos of the event are posted here.

Vint Cerf, General Chair of the ACM Turing Centenary Celebration, cited the importance of Turing’s innovations in setting high bars and challenging targets for his colleagues and successors in computing.  "This celebration draws on the work of many who have followed Turing and his contemporaries," he said.  "These men and women have explored more deeply the paths that his early work opened to view. They are ideally positioned to see the future of computer science as it evolves in the 21st century."   Cerf is a co-winner of the 2004 ACM Turing Award with Bob Kahn for their contributions to computer networking protocol, which enabled the creation of the Internet.  He is Chief Internet Evangelist at Google Inc.

Moderated by distinguished forecaster and commentator Paul Saffo, the event commemorated Turing’s legacy 100 years after his birth.  "With the perspective of 100 years, we understand how important Turing's work was in a way that, even 20 years ago, we couldn't perceive,” he said.  “His work on computability, decidability, cryptography, and artificial intelligence, among other areas, makes it hard to overstate the profound impact that Turing has had on our discipline."
Among the speakers at the event was the most recent Turing Award winner Judea Pearl of the University of California, Los Angeles.  "Through Turing's genius, the notion of computers exceeding human intelligence has inspired researchers and realists throughout the world since the 1940s," said Pearl, whose own contributions transformed artificial intelligence.  Pearl's work serves as the standard method for handling uncertainty in computer systems, with applications ranging from medical diagnosis, homeland security and genetic counseling to natural language understanding and mapping gene expression data.  

For a complete list of speakers, visit the Awardees page

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

About the ACM A.M. Turing Award
The A.M. Turing Award was named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing. Since its inception in 1966, the Turing Award has honored the computer scientists and engineers who created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry.