Alan Turing's Computers and Our Computers
- Speaker: Professor Martin Davis (New York University)
- Host: Andrei Voronkov
- 26th November 2007 at 12:00 in Lecture Theatre 1.4, Kilburn Building
In 1999, TIME magazine proposed their list of the twenty greatest ``scientists and thinkers'' of the twentieth century. Explaining their choice of Alan Turing as one of the twenty, they wrote: everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine. Although these machines were only mathematical abstractions that Turing had introduced in a technical paper published in 1936, they implied a whole new way of thinking about computation and revealed the goal of an all-purpose machine that could be programmed to carry out arbitrary computations. In this talk I will tell the story of Turing's rich, eventful, and ultimately tragic life, and explain some of his ideas.