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A week to go until Alan Turing Conference

14 Jun 2012

In a week’s time some of the most famous figures in the world of Computer Science will arrive in Manchester to honour the centenary of Alan Turing.

The conference will be a celebration of Alan Turing's life

Speakers will discuss what the future holds for computing, as well as the enduring legacy of the renowned code-breaker, mathematician and computer scientist.

The Alan Turing Centenary Conference from June 22nd to 25th, will also feature two public lectures – the first delivered by Jack Copeland, one of Turing’s biographers, and the second by physicist Sir Roger Penrose.

Events will be held at Manchester Town Hall and also at University Place at The University of Manchester. Full details of all speakers and the schedule can be found at

On Saturday June 23rd – the date of the centenary – chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov will unveil a blue plaque at the building where Turing used to work at the University. That evening the Olympic Torch Relay will pass Manchester Town Hall, providing a spectacular backdrop for the conference.

Among the speakers will be Google Senior Vice-president Dr Vint Cerf, Mr Kasparov, ten Turing award winners, the famous physicists Sir Roger Penrose and George Ellis, and Dr David Ferrucci, the head of the Watson project at IBM.

Alan Turing joined The University of Manchester in 1948, the same year that Tom Kilburn and Freddie Williams built the Baby at the University – the world’s first computer with memory stored programs.

Although his genius was most recognised in the UK for his work breaking German codes during the Second World War, Turing was very much the father of the modern computer.

He envisaged a 'universal computing machine', whose function could effortlessly be transformed from word processor to desk calculator to chess opponent – or anything else that we have the skill to pin down in the form of a computer program.

Turing was also one of the first pioneers in Artificial Intelligence, Computation Theory and Computer Games. He also made profound contributions to mathematics and mathematical logic, philosophy, theoretical biology, and the study of the mind. He remained at The University of Manchester for the rest of his life.

At the turn of the Millennium, 45 years after his death, Time magazine listed him among the twentieth century's 100 greatest minds, alongside the Wright brothers, Albert Einstein, DNA busters Crick and Watson, and the discoverer of penicillin, Alexander Fleming.

The conference is a celebration of Turing’s life and his time at The University of Manchester. It will also bring together the most distinguished scientists to understand and analyse the history and development of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.

The University of Manchester’s President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell will also address the conference on Monday morning.

Speaking about the conference she said: “Alan Turing has left a substantial legacy, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to host such a prestigious event in his honour.

“Alan Turing is a hugely-significant figure in the history of The University of Manchester. This has been recognised by the naming of  the Alan Turing Building and will be  consolidated further with the plaque which will be unveiled next week.”

To book free tickets for the public lectures and for more information on the conference, including a detailed schedule of events, please visit

In addition, University historian Professor John Pickstone will be giving a talk on Thursday 28th June from 6-8pm at Manchester Museum, entitled: ‘Creativity in tough times: Turing and Manchester University after the Second World War.’