Celebrating 50 Years of the ACM A.M. Turing Award and Computing’s Greatest Achievements
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Celebrating 50 Years of the ACM A.M. Turing Award and Computing’s Greatest Achievements


Long before many could envision the concept
of computers, Alan Mathison Turing saw their tremendous potential to alter our world for
the better. Each year, ACM honors outstanding contributions
to computing with the presentation of the award that bears his name. In the coming months ACM will celebrate 50
years of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, as well as many of computing’s greatest achievements. First, however, we’d like to show you why
ACM chose to celebrate the memory and contributions
of Alan Turing. Alan Mathison Turing was a remarkable visionary
who helped shape the diverse fields that would become computer science. In 1936 he launched the modern computer era
with his classic paper on computable numbers. In it he conceived his universal Turing machine,
which, he then proved, could compute anything that was computable. During World War II, while working at Bletchley
Park, he co-designed an electro mechanical computing device, which his team of codebreakers
used to help crack the Enigma codes used by Nazi Germany. In 1950 he developed the criterion, now known
as the Turing test, to determine whether or not a machine could actually “think”. In 1966, the Association for Computing Machinery
instituted the ACM A.M. Turing Award. For half a century Turing Laureates have advanced
all fields of computing science, many having emerged since the first presentation of the
award. Turing’s role in computing… Turing’s role was the visionary. From the rudiments of computing at the time
he was able to extrapolate the immensity of what a “computer”
could do. There is a new giant around. And that is computation. Computation is the glue that keeps the world together. Interfaces and agents… Forty odd years after we did our original
work on internet protocols and the fact of the matter is people are still stuck at looking
at screens and keyboards and many people are 7/24 stuck to them. An intelligent agent should be equally good
for an illiterate person in a village. We should have two kinds of agents, cognition
amplifiers, which do things we know how to do, and guardian angels, which do things we don’t
know how to do. The process of discovery… Often when you make a scientific discovery
you start laughing and the reason is is that the universe didn’t change just because you
saw something. It was already around us, and like a joke, you just couldn’t see it. Early ideas become mainstream… To realize that these early ideas, data abstraction
and specifications and programming language and so forth, to understand that
they had moved so into the mainstream that everybody knew them and they were the basis
of how you wrote programs, I mean that was just a remarkable thing to understand. To distill what is of lasting interest… But now what I’m trying to do is to distill
off what I think is going to be of lasting interest … what parts of the things that
people are doing today are people going to be interested in 50 years from now. What’s next… Today we have all this tremendous amount of
data out there, a tremendous amount of connectivity, and there’s really pressing
question. Now What? So there are all kinds of concerns that people
have about safety, about reliability of these devices, about their security and whether
or not they preserve privacy. Everything we do is already known and knowable… Everything we do is already known and knowable. I don’t think we have any privacy at all. Every science is beholden to computing Because this space of computing is exploding. It touches so much of everything we do in all the sciences. Now every science is beholding to our ability
to compute. I’m Craig Partridge. And I’m Fahad Dogar. And we are delighted to serve as co-chairs
for an outstanding ACM event in 2017. Next June, in memory of Alan Turing, ACM will
celebrate 50 Years of computing’s greatest achievements, in an exciting conference in
San Francisco. We will feature many of the recipients of
the Turing Award, as well as other leading researchers in computer science. We’ll be exploring the evolution of computer
science and where it is headed in a series of lively moderated discussions, in which the
experts take questions from other experts, as well as those attending. So please, plan now to join us either in person
in San Francisco, or on the web as we stream these sessions live. June 23-24, 2017, San Francisco, CA 50 Years of Celebrating Computing’s Greatest
Achievements promises to be a truly unique experience. We look forward to welcoming you in San Francisco.

2 Comments

  • Daniel Campoverde

    Universidad de Cuenca student chapter chair here.

    As native Spanish speakers we would like (and need) to show the video with Spanish subtitles, so if you enable the subtitles translations contribution option for the video I'll be happy to write and add the translation. Thanks

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