Alan Turing: Father Of Modern Computing Science | KCUR

Alan Turing: Father Of Modern Computing Science

May 16, 2012

A new exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art at KU, entitled Cryptograph, celebrates Alan Turing, a visionary British mathematician whose work formed the conceptual basis for the modern computers that we use today.

In 1936, Turing devised a machine that would ultimately change the world. It proved that with a few simple ingredients, the machine could compute any mathematical problem that a human could compute.

The exhibition at the Spencer Museum focuses on Turing’s research interests--namely, finding meaning in patterns, and finding connections between mathematics and computing, intelligence and natural form.

In the first part of Thursday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Spencer Museum's Dr. Steve Goddard, Dr. Perry Alexander, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Dr. Leonard Krishtalka, director of KU’s Biodiversity Institute about Cryptograph, and the life of Alan Turing.

HEAR MORE: Steve Goddard and Perry Alexander examine the world of computer pioneer Alan Turing this evening at 6:30 at the Kansas City Library Central branch, 14 W. 10th Street in Kansas City, Mo. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Click here for more information.

SEE MORE: Cryptograph: An Exhibition for Alan Turing is now on display at the Spencer Museum of Art on the KU campus in Lawrence, KS. Click here for more information.

Dr. Perry Alexander is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas. His research interests include formal modeling, language semantics, systems-level design and component retrieval. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and is past president of the Engineering of Computer-Based Systems Technical Committee. He is the principal architect of the Rosetta systems-level design language. He has published over 90 refereed papers, has won 15 teaching awards, and presented numerous invited talks. The professional achievement he is most proud of is his students.

Leonard Krishtalka is Director of the Biodiversity Institute, and a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, positions he has held since 1995. He studied zoology, anthropology, paleontology at McGill University in Montreal and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, before completing his doctoral studies in evolutionary biology at The University of Kansas, Lawrence, and Texas Tech University, Lubbock. Krishtalka’s research encompassed the evolution of mammals, with paleontological field expeditions throughout western Canada and the U. S., Europe, north and east Africa, China and Patagonia. Krishtalka is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He's the author of about 200 research articles, policy papers and popular pieces in scientific journals, books, newspapers and magazines, as well as one book, Dinosaur Plots & Other Intrigues in Natural History.

Stephen Goddard has dedicated his career to the study of printed art. His undergraduate work was done at Grinnell College. After two years of research in Belgium, and the successful completion of his doctoral work at the University of Iowa in Art History he enjoyed a post-doctoral internship at the Yale University Art Gallery.  In the course of his twenty-six years at the Spencer Museum of Art he has organized nearly forty exhibitions and offered many courses on the history of printmaking. He was, for four years, president of the Print Council of America. Many of Goddard’s recent projects have involved partnerships with colleagues in the sciences. His current exhibitions about Alan Turing and the Peruvian Amazon may lead to a larger project about humanity within the broader biological spectrum.