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Alan Turing: the creative power of mathematics

Hodges, A (University of Oxford)
Tuesday 27 March 2012, 17:30-18:30

Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute


Nowadays it is widely acknowledged that Turing's 1936 definition of computability, and his discovery of the concept of the universal machine, provided the foundation for the emergence of the digital computer in 1945. But Turing was not simply a logician. In this talk, I shall bring out how Turing's youthful 1936 work arose from a wide field of enquiry with mathematical, physical and philosophical elements. Then, that Turing's broad approach to mathematics and technology led him through the wartime cryptographic work into his own electronic computer plan of 1945. This extraordinary breadth of knowledge and application also created the setting for his later Artificial Intelligence plans and for his theory of biological growth.

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