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Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

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Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  Chris M on Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:51 pm

Thanks to my ultra geek father, my middle name is 'Turing' as I'm named after one of his computer science heros, Alan M. Turing. Turing is known as the father of the modern computer. After I grew up and got tired of explaining why I had such a weird middle name, I finally did a lot of reading about him and he's a fascinating guy who lived during some extraordinary times. It is 100 years since his birth this year and a lot of math/computer science community is looking at his legacy. See a pretty interesting article below that covers a lot of his contributions. But the most interesting thing for these boards? He was a marathoner along with everything else.

He ran in Britian's 1949 olympic marathon trials and finished 5th, just 11 minutes off the winner and ultimate silver medalist.

When asked why he ran so often and so relentessly, Turing said "I have such a stressful job that the only way I can get it out of my mind is by running hard." Hey, there are days I can certainly relate to that!

So I'm raising a glass tonight to my middle name namesake and fellow marathoner, Alan Turing!



Turing at 100: Legacy of a universal mind


22 February 2012




From the day he was born — 23 June 1912 — Alan Mathison Turing seemed destined to solitude, misunderstanding and persecution (see page 441). As his centenary year opens, Nature hails him as one of the top scientific minds of all time (see page 440). This special issue sweeps through Turing's innumerable achievements, taking us from his most famous roles — wartime code-breaker and founder of computer science (see page 459) — to his lesser known interests of botany, neural nets, unorganized machines, quantum physics and, well, ghosts (see page 562).
Everyone sees a different Turing. A molecular biologist might surprise you by saying that Turing's most important paper is his 1936 work on the 'Turing machine' because of its relevance to DNA-based cellular operations (see page 461). A biophysicist could instead point to his 1952 work on the formation of biological patterns — the first simulation of nonlinear dynamics ever to be published (see page 464).



nature.com/turing

Beneath it all, Turing was driven by the dream of reviving — possibly in the form of a computer program — the soul of Christopher Morcom, perhaps his only true friend, who died abruptly when they were both teenagers. I want to “build a brain”, he said. So does electrophysiologist Henry Markram (see page 456). But it is still a matter of debate whether machine intelligence should faithfully simulate neuronal circuitry, or just emulate brain function using whatever expedient (see page 462).

Even when Turing was kept busy by wartime code-breaking and the practical implementation of his universal computer, he never forgot that he had, in 1936, discovered something even bigger: the 'incomputable' world. Contemporary physics hasn't even started to work out the implications of that discovery (see page 465).

It is typical of Turing's brilliance and playfulness that even as he gave so many fields the tools that allowed them to blossom, he planted a concept that pushes science as we know it — physical reality and Newtonian causality—towards the abyss
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  ssilvert on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:24 pm

A nerd answers the call ...

As a computer science student I studied Turing's theories that still serve as the basis of computing today. The computer you are using right now is an implementation of the theoretical machine he described in his papers. He's not only the father of the digital computer but also the father of artificial intelligence, a subject I didn't like as much as theory of computation.

Think about this. Turing's work on code-breaking was a key to winning World War II. Like many on this board, I'm betting that he came up with a lot of his greatest ideas while pounding the pavement. Ergo, running won World War II.

Also, check out this list of famous marathoners:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_marathoners_who_are_non-running_specialists

Except for professional athletes, Turing has the second fastest PR on the list. And he ran his 2:46 way back in 1947.

Dang, I should have named my daughter after him. Chris' dad is so cool.

Stan
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  Chris M on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:39 pm

@ssilvert wrote:A nerd answers the call ...

Dang, I should have named my daughter after him. Chris' dad is so cool.

Stan

A lot of people write 'LOL' but I really did burst out laughing at that last line! Only a true nerd would find him cool!! Nah, I'm being mean...he is super cool but not in any kind of normal way. He comes to a lot of races (loves doing all the splits and computations in his head, of course) so we'll have to have you guys meet up and geek out together if we run a common race.
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  Dave-O on Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:44 am

@ssilvert wrote:

Turing's work on code-breaking was a key to winning World War II. Like many on this board, I'm betting that he came up with a lot of his greatest ideas while pounding the pavement. Ergo, running won World War II.


This is the type of logic that a lawyer can get behind.

So Chris, your full birth name is Christopher Turing Mc...
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  ssilvert on Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:47 pm

@Dave-O wrote:
@ssilvert wrote:

Turing's work on code-breaking was a key to winning World War II. Like many on this board, I'm betting that he came up with a lot of his greatest ideas while pounding the pavement. Ergo, running won World War II.


This is the type of logic that a lawyer can get behind.
Yea, I grew up around lawyers. They all love to say "Ergo".
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  Ben Z on Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:29 pm

Lamda lamda lamda and...
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  Chris M on Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:31 pm

@Dave-O wrote:
@ssilvert wrote:

Turing's work on code-breaking was a key to winning World War II. Like many on this board, I'm betting that he came up with a lot of his greatest ideas while pounding the pavement. Ergo, running won World War II.


This is the type of logic that a lawyer can get behind.

So Chris, your full birth name is Christopher Turing Mc...

Heh heh. Not ready to reveal that to all yet. But my brother married my wife's sister (my life is like living one of those odd riddles) and so as weird as that is, why do the couples have different last names? Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe my Dad IS the cool one and I'm the weird dorky one!
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  ssilvert on Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:37 pm

@Chris M wrote:
@Dave-O wrote:
@ssilvert wrote:

Turing's work on code-breaking was a key to winning World War II. Like many on this board, I'm betting that he came up with a lot of his greatest ideas while pounding the pavement. Ergo, running won World War II.


This is the type of logic that a lawyer can get behind.

So Chris, your full birth name is Christopher Turing Mc...

Heh heh. Not ready to reveal that to all yet. But my brother married my wife's sister (my life is like living one of those odd riddles) and so as weird as that is, why do the couples have different last names? Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe my Dad IS the cool one and I'm the weird dorky one!

That's nothing. I know a woman who married a man then divorced him to marry her husband's father. She had sons with both men. As such, her first son is his brother's nephew. I'm not kidding.
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:38 pm

Stan lives south of Atlanta, just so you all know.

I did pass on the links to my nerdy daughter who wants to study CS and like Stan loves the computing aspect.
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  Chris Coleman on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:20 pm

@ssilvert wrote:
I know a woman who married a man then divorced him to marry her husband's father...
Amazing! So do I. And said husband's ex-fiancee was not happy to find out she'd been replaced by her daughter-in-law-elect.

It makes the fact that I have a (half) sister older than (but still respectful of) my mother seem rather mundane.

Now, am I supposed to say something about running?
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  ssilvert on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:22 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Stan lives south of Atlanta, just so you all know.

The woman in question is from Wisconsin.
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Re: Calling all nerds....celebration of Alan Turing's 100th

Post  Chris Coleman on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:25 pm

@ssilvert wrote:
@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Stan lives south of Atlanta, just so you all know.

The woman in question is from Wisconsin.
I guess that's morally south of Atlanta.
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