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Special Turing 100 event announced for 2012 anniversary of mathematician's birth – University of Reading

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Special Turing 100 event announced for 2012 anniversary of mathematician's birth

Release Date 23 June 2011

Alan Turing

As part of the 2012 international celebrations to mark the life and influence of the 20th century mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing, the University of Reading's School of Systems Engineering has announced a special one-day event. Turing100 will take place on what would have been his 100th birthday, 23 June 2012.

Taking place at Bletchley Park¹, the centre for British code-breaking during the Second World War, Turing100 will be based around Turing's famous question and answer game, commonly known as the Turing test.

Turing, cited by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most important scientists and thinkers of the last century, considered the learning of language an impressive human activity and felt the question and answer method was a suitable vehicle to examine the capability of machines.

In the 21st century, the question and answer method has been exploited for both good and bad. For example, neurologists have used it to ascertain whether brain-damaged patients are fully aware inside a paralysed body² while computer programmes such as CyberLover 2007 or Flirtbot 2010 are becoming increasingly used to target human users on the Internet with the aim of stealing identity and conducting financial fraud.

Using the question and answer method, the experiments which will be part of the Turing 100 day will play a serious role in helping raise awareness of cyber crime using artificial conversation systems aiming to increase the detection rate for online deception and preventing the risk of Internet grooming.

In experiments carried out at The University of Reading in 2008, in 25 of the 96 Turing tests there was a failure by human interrogators to correctly recognise at least one of two hidden machines (the human judges classified machines as human; humans were misclassified as machine; sex and age were difficult to recognise).

Activities at Turing100 will include robot demonstrations and interactive machine learning programmes specifically aimed at children, and trials of software developed by Lancaster University in their ISIS online child protection experiments, conducted by Professor Awais Rashid.

Collaborating with Turing100 is Professor Jack Copeland, Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Jack Copeland and Dr Huma Shah, from Reading's School of Systems Engineering, are organising the Turing Education Day incorporating the Alan Turing Memorial Lecture 2012 at Bletchley Park (date TBC).

Turing Education Day, which will follow Turing100, will host a team of first-rate lecturers explaining the key aspects of Turing's many-sided work to a general audience. Topics covered will include codebreaking; the birth and early development of the computer and computer programming; artificial intelligence; artificial life; and the foundations and philosophy of mathematics.


Further information from the University of Reading's press office on 0118 378 7388/7115

 Notes to editors:

  • ¹Though there will be a fee to enter the Park, there will be no charge to the family-friendly Turing100 event inside the Mansion.
  • ²See John F. Stins and Steven Laureys ‘Thought Translation, tennis and Turing tests in the vegetative state'. Phenom. Cogn Sci, 8:361-370, March 2009
  • Judges in Turing100 include haematological oncologist Professor Finbarr Cotter, Director of Research for the Royal college of Pathologists who has a PhD in molecular biology and was the first to carry out worldwide trials of the genes silencing compound (Genasense), and Dr Chris Riley who gained his PhD from Imperial College and is the Producer and Director of, among other documentaries, 'First Orbit' a recreation of the orbit around the earth of Yuri Gagarin, celebrating the 50th anniversary of manned space flight April 12th 2011.
  • Turing100 provides a unique opportunity for corporate and individual sponsorship and to work together to achieve the dual aim of tackling cybercrime. Please contact Professor Kevin Warwick, Chair of Turing100, or Dr Shah, lead scientist for information on available exhibitor stands at Turing100 on Saturday 23 June 2012: or
  • Bletchley Park:
  • Contact email for Turing Education Day:
  • Keep up-to-date with news on Alan Turing Year via Facebook:

  • The University of Reading's School of Systems Engineering brings together a unique mix of expertise in information technology, computer science, cybernetics and electronic engineering. More information at

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