Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Alan Turing: His Work and Impact

Nature has published  an amusing short pre-review of the book "Alan Turing: His Work and Impact", edited by S. Barry Cooper and Jan van Leeuwen it reads as follows:

"The new testament of computer science has come, 101 years after the birth of founding prophet Alan Turing. It took 70 renowned evangelists from all walks of science and philosophy to put the polymath's words in context and dissect his living impact on pure maths, physics, biology, engineering, banking, metaphysics and beyond. How big is the incomputable universe? Can digital machines think? Do daisies emerge from pure chemistry? If your soul craves answers to such questions, this is your new bible."

The 944 page book presents Turing's most significant original works along with commentaries from scholarly leaders in the field. Written for a larger audience, it provides a unique insight into the text, context and significance of Turing's impact on mathematics, computing, morphogenesis, philosophy, and to the wider scientific world. The book includes two commentaries co-authored by members of our department. A commentary by C. S. Calude (UoA), L. Staiger (Halle U.) and M. Stay (UoA and Google) presents a complexity-theoretic analysis of non-ending computations that are responsible for Turing arguably most important theorem: no algorithm can distinguish in finite time between halting and non-halting computations. Another commentary by A. A. Abbott (UoA),  C. S. Calude (UoA), K. Svozil (TU Vienna) discusses the controversial issue of oracle-based hypercomputation, i.e. a Turing computation accessing a finite, but unbounded, part of an incomputable set. A Turing computation powered with a quantum random oracle is theoretically capable of breaking the Turing barrier, but is this capability practical?
   Even if this book didn't contain two commentaries by colleagues from my department and wasn't edited by a fellow member of the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee i'd still highly recommend it - I can't wait to read it.



from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/




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