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If you have studied Informatics (or Computer Science) as I have, you have for sure heard of and have been taught at least one or more results of the work of Alan Mathison Turing. He is one of the co-founders of (Theoretical) Computer Science. Furthermore he was a Mathematician, Logician and Wartime Codebraker.

He was born 23rd of June 1912 and died in the age of 41 at the 7th of June 1954. He was a victim of prejudice about his homosexuality. Because of his sexual orientation was sentenced and has probably committed suicide.

As co-founder of computer science he is known e.g. for the so called Turing machine – a theoretical machine with an endless tape, a read/write header, which could also move left resp. right after reading resp. writing from/to the endless tape. Turing proved that this machine could solve any mathematical problem, which can be solved by an algorithm. He also proved, that there exists no algorithm to decide, if a given Turing machine will stop.

Turing also invented the Turing Test as a criterion to decide if a machine is intelligent. With this test he influenced the area of artificial intelligence a lot.

Because of his lifetime work the year 2012, the year of his one hundred´s birthday, has been declared as the Alan Turing Year. Many conferences as well as exhibitions, competitions and other events around the world are organized during this year (see the link above).

Also SAP Software and its ecosystem are based on the work of Alan Turing. In my opinion we should think about in which way we can honour this great scientist and man during the coming SAP events and activities in 2012.

What else can we do? Here are some suggestions:

  • Start telling people about it
  • Put the official ATY-Logo on your slides, hompages, papers or what so ever
  • Name a project, a room or a street in honor of him
  • Start a project, write a blog or article which deals with the subjects of his work
  • Dedicate a piece of software to him (something substantial please, not just a subroutine).

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  1. Thorsten Franz
    Hi Peter,
    I wasn’t aware of the Alan Turing Year before your blog, but to me, Turing is a person I frequently remember and honor anyway. Just a few days ago, I explained to someone who Turing was, stressing his contribution to philosophy (of the mind) and expressing my disgust at how this man to whom society (especially his fellow countrymen) owes so much was discriminated against and eventually driven to suicide.
    I can highly recommend Andrew Hodges’ biography “Alan Turing: The Enigma” (www.amazon.com/dp/0802775802) with a foreword by Douglas Hofstadter.
    Cheers,
    Thorsten
    (0) 

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