Turing in Context
King's College, Cambridge
18-19 February 2012
From Mind to Turing to MindHenk Barendregt (Nijmegen)
Using introspection as inspiration Turing came to a model of
In essence this is the model of the modern universal computer.
Conversely Turing Machines form inspiration for a model of conscious
The power of this model is that on the one hand it is simple and on the
hand it explains several phenomena known in cognitive neuropsychology.
Since the English reformation in the 16th century English law has inspired and fuelled a particular fascination with sexual relations between men. 20th century law reports offer a record of the intensity of this forensic scrutiny, mapping and generating the meaning of the minutiae of those relations. If for most the law operated as a distant but chilling threat, from time to time laws violence destroyed lives and provided a spectacle in the service of good order. Behind and operating through the law was an elaborate machine inciting speech about sexual relations between men. The archive of the Wolfenden review, that proposed the limited decriminalisation of certain homosexual acts in private, provides an incredible window into this forensic view of the world. In this paper I use that archive as a vehicle to examine how laws fascination with homosexual acts was operating at the time that Alan Turing experienced the violence of the law, to such devastating effect.
The contribution of Alan Turing to British intelligenceJulian Richards (Buckingham)
We know that Alan Turing worked sporadically with GCHQ after the war until the early 1950s, until contact seems to have been broken off, presumably due to security concerns. Of course, we do not know precisely what they discussed, but we can take some fairly informed guesses that the application of large-scale computing processes to seemingly intractable intelligence questions was likely to be at the centre of debate. In this talk, I will explore the manner in which post-war British intelligence capability has developed, drawing extensively on my own experience of the sector in more recent years, and consider the legacies in that process of Alan Turing. There are technical and computational legacies, but also, I suggest, some fascinating cultural developments in which Turing may have played a hand. I also pose the counterfactual question: what would Turing have made of intelligence activity in 21st century Britain?
Zuse and TuringRaul Rojas (Berlin)
In my talk I will discuss Konrad Zuse's work and some interesting connections with Alan Turing's achievements. Konrad Zuse built several computers from 1936 to 1945, which he called "algebraic machines". He realized around 1941 that all of them could be reduced to a simpler one, the "logistic computer". He designed a high-level programming language based on predicate logic for this machine. It evolved into his "Plankalkül", the first high-level programming language, which remained unimplemented until we wrote an interpreter in 2000. Turing and Zuse were almost of the same age and started thinking about computing machines at about the same time. They both wrote the code or pseudocode for the first chess programs in the world. Zuse's work could appear, only superficially, as a series of disconected machines. What I intend to show is that they all fit in a general conception of computability.
Pattern Formation and Turing Pattern in Developing Cell SystemsAngela Stevens (Münster)
With his seminal article on "The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis" Turing laid some of the foundations for the understanding of reaction-diffusion mechanisms and their connection to pattern formation in biology.
In this talk a short summary of his contribution and its mathematical and biological impact will be given, and further possible mechanisms for pattern formation in developmental cell systems will be discussed.
TiC@Kings is organized as part of the Alan Turing Year 2012 and sponsored by the King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge, the Isaac Newton Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, and the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB).