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Colloquium Details

Distinguished Lecture Series: Alan Turing's Computers and Our Computers

Author:Martin Davis Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley
Date:May 28, 2013
Location:110 Law Center
Host:Eugene Luks and Chris Wilson


In 1999, TIME magazine proposed their list of the twenty greatest "scientists and thinkers" of the twentieth century. Explaining their choice of Alan Turing as one of the twenty, they wrote: "…everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine." Although these "machines" were only mathematical abstractions that Turing had introduced n a technical paper published in 1936, they implied a whole new way of thinking about computation and revealed the goal of an all-purpose machine that could be "programmed" to carry out arbitrary computations. In this talk I will tell the story of Turing's rich, eventful, and ultimately tragic life, and explain some of his ideas.

Professor Martin will be giving a second talk on Unsolvability & Undecidability in the Diophantine Realm on Wednesday, May 29.


Professor Davis is renowned for his contributions to logic and computability including, as coinventor, the Davis-Putnam procedure and work on the unsolvability of Hilbert's Tenth Problem. Recipient of numerous scientific awards, he is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a Guggenheim Fellow.