Turing centenary

The Alan Turing Year was celebrated worldwide in 2012. Multiple Turing events were held in several cities. I attended quite a few of those events myself and audio recorded the speeches. My objective here is to compare and contrast claims that computer professionals, historians, and others have made about Turing and our field.

Freely Available: 2015 paper on Turing's legacy

I have made my article on Turing's legacy available (see the attached pdf), since the publisher has now chosen to place it behind a firewall, and because I have retained my copyright.

  • E.G. Daylight. Towards a Historical Notion of 'Turing — the Father of Computer Science'. Special issue of the journal History and Philosophy of Logic, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp. 205-228, 2015. (Published online: 4 November 2015.)

Reading Assignments at Siegen University

Dated: 

30 November 2017

 

Dear Media Students,

Thank you for attending my class today. Please prepare the following two assignments for 14 December 2017. You will be asked to actively participate.

 

ASSIGNMENT 1

Read James Somers's `The Coming Software Apocalypse,' which appeared in The Atlantic on 26 September 2017.

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Hopcroft and Ullman

Dated: 

24 October 2017

Is the history of computer science solely a history of progress? I don't think so. Judge for yourself by reading the present post in which I scrutinize the famous textbooks of John E. Hopcroft and Jeffrey D. Ullman.

Quotes from 1969 and 2007

I start by comparing the following two quotes. The first quote comes from Hopcroft & Ullman, 1969:

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Jos Baeten

Dated: 

June 2015

On June 3rd, 2015, Jos Baeten and Liesbeth De Mol each gave a lecture for my Master class "Logic and Computation." I requested my students to write a one-page summary on either Baeten's or De Mol's talk. Baeten talked about reactive Turing machines, De Mol gave a presentation on the history of the Church-Turing thesis.

My student Bobby Vos wrote the best summary, which was on Jos Baeten's talk. I am happy to reproduce it below with Bobby's permission. Enjoy!

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Knuth and P = NP

Dated: 

December 2014

New book: Algorithmic Barriers Falling: P=NP?  Just appeared!

From the preface:

The official site of ACM Turing Award winners describes Donald E. Knuth as the rare theoretician who writes many lines of code every day. His main life goal from the 1960s onwards is, in a nutshell, to nail the costs of computation down to the last penny.

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A Turing Tale

Dated: 

21 August 2014

This post contains extra information about my CACM article `A Turing Tale' (October issue, 2014), specifically regarding particular book chapters and page numbers for the source citations appearing in my article.

Below, I present fragments of my article along with precise source citations which were omitted due to editorial styling conventions.

In my section entitled "Hodges":

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Towards The Origins of Computational Complexity

One of my students at Utrecht University reflected during the spring of 2014 on the origins of computational complexity. She has given me permission to publish her beautiful essay here (anonymously).

Her chosen research topic is a difficult one to address. But, by presenting a pluralistic account in which she lets her historical actors tell the story (Cobham, Hartmanis, Rabin, Blum), she has succeeded in conveying technical information to an audience that need not be versed in complexity theory per se.

Prime Numbers and Turing

Dated: 

October 2012

In his beautifully written book The Music of the Primes [1], Marcus du Sautoy presented a history of mathematical investigations into the behavior of the prime numbers. Can one predict when the next prime number will occur? Is there a formula that could generate prime numbers? Du Sautoy entertained such questions by discussing the work of several great mathematicians of the past, including Gauss, Riemann, and Turing.

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