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Turing's Worlds

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Turing in slate

Sculpture of Alan Turing in slate by Stephen Kettle, now at Bletchley Park.

Turing's Worlds was an event that covered the life and achievements of Alan Turing whose centenary was on 23rd June 2012. It was held over the weekend of 23rd–24th June 2012 at Rewley House in Oxford, England. A number of talks covered aspects of Turing’s life and achievements from varying points of view.


The Turing’s Worlds event was organized in association with the British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM) and the Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University.

Alan Mathison Turing was born on 23rd June, 1912, exactly a hundred years before this weekend meeting, which celebrated his life and achievements. Although probably most well-known to the public for his work at Bletchley Park in the pioneering days that saw the birth of modern practical computing, Turing achieved fame well before World War II with a seminal account of theoretical computation and his solution to the Entscheidungsproblem. As such, he could be considered the founding father of formal methods. He was also an Olympic-class marathon runner, who refused to conform to the narrow sexual standards of the day and was persecuted for it, while still undertaking fundamental and seminal research on Artificial Intelligence, computer programming, and even mathematical biology. The event was co-organized by: Jonathan Bowen (BCS-FACS/London South Bank University), Martin Campbell-Kelly (University of Warwick), Terry Froggatt (BSHM), Bob Lockhart (Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford), Robin Wilson (BSHM/Open University).


Saturday, 23rd June 2012

Welcome address
Jonathan Bowen, London South Bank University

Turing and the Public Consciousness: Turing 2.0(12)
Sue Black, University College London

Decidability: The Entscheidungsproblem
Robin Whitty, London South Bank University

History of the Turing Hypothesis: The Universal Machine
John Tucker, Swansea University

Turing in the age of the Internet and the quantum computer
Samson Abramsky, Oxford University

Turing in the History of Software
Cliff Jones, Newcastle University

Turing in the History of Computers
Martin Campbell-Kelly, Warwick University

Turing in the Modern World
Jack Copeland, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

What Alan Turing might have discovered
Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram Research, USA

Congruent Worlds: Turing, Lovelace and Babbage
Doron Swade, Royal Holloway, University of London

Sunday, 24th June 2012

AI and the Turing Test
Teresa Numerico, University of Rome 3, Italy

Morphogenesis Then and Now
Philip Maini, Oxford University

Action This Day
Simon Greenish, Iain Standen, & Jean Valentine, Bletchley Park

Decoding Alan Turing: A Biographer's Experience
Andrew Hodges, Oxford University

Why is Max Newman Part of the Turing Story?
Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Middlesex University

Turing Our Contemporary
Darrel Ince, Open University


A book associated with the Turing’s Worlds event and similar Turing-related events in Cambridge and at Bletchley Park is planned for 2017 and published by Oxford University Press. The volume is titled The Turing Guide, written by Jack Copeland, Jonathan Bowen, Mark Sprevak, Robin Wilson, and others. It includes 42 contributed chapters by experts in the field and some contemporaries of Alan Turing and is aimed at the general reader with an interest in Turing's life and work.

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