Research Seminar January 6th: Leo Corry (Hebrew lecture)

Research Seminar January 6th: Leo Corry (Hebrew lecture). The seminar will take place in Gilman 449 at 18:00.

30 December 2019

ליאו קורי 

מכון כהן 

המחשבים האנלוגים של טורינג מלפני המלחמה: בחינה מחודשת של מעמדו של "אבי המחשב המודרני"

In this talk I discuss the role of Alan Turing in the history of the modern electronic computer and, in particular, the putative connection between the so-called Universal Turing Machine, as introduced in his seminal article of 1936 on "Computable Numbers", and the first stored-program computers, designed and implemented in the mid-1940s. I contend that in order to achieve a complete and balanced picture of the history of modern electronic computer, one must explicitly abandon the idea of a straightforward (let alone necessary) transition from the mathematical idea of 1936 to the physical machine (or even the design of that machine) in 1945. More specifically, by exploring the details of Turing's pre-war involvement with various fields of mathematics, both at Cambridge and at Princeton, and with the actual construction of two automatic calculating machines, I claim that to the extent that early storedprogram computers of the mid-1940s can be seen as physically embodying ideas discussed in the 1936 paper, this is mostly a result of hindsight and says little about Turing's ideas before the war.

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