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What is the A.M. Turing Award?

Table of Contents: DefinitionWho was A.M. Turing?List of WinnersStatistical evaluationsNotes

Smartpedia: The Turing Award is the highest award in the field of computer science and is comparable to the Nobel Prize or the Fields Medal.

Turing Award – the highest award in computer science

The A.M. Turing Award is the highest award in computer science. Since 1966, it has been awarded once a year to individuals whose work has outstanding significance for computer science.

The Turing Award, which is comparable to the Nobel Prize or the Fields Medal for mathematics and is nowadays sponsored by Google and endowed with 1 million US dollars, is awarded by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). It was founded in 1947 as a scientific society for computer science with the aim of promoting the science and application of information technology.

According to its own information, the ACM is active in more than 100 countries with approx. 78,000 members. The German section is the German Chapter of the ACM, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Turing Award - the highest award in computer science

Who was Alan Mathison Turing?

The award is named after Alan Mathison Turing, a British mathematician, computer scientist and cryptanalyst. He described an essential part of the theoretical foundations of information and computer technology and is regarded as one of the most influential theorists of early computer development. The Turing machine he developed is a cornerstone of Theoretical Computer Science. During the Second World War, he was instrumental in deciphering the Enigma used by the German army to encrypt its radio messages. In 1952, Alan Turing was sentenced to hormone treatment for his homosexuality, which was a criminal offence at the time. From then on he suffered from depression and took his own life in 1954.

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine” is a well-known quote from A.M. Turing.

List of Turing Award Winners

Since 1966, the Turing Award has been presented 58 times.

  • 77 persons have been honoured, 44 times individual persons have been awarded the prize, 12 times the prize has been awarded simultaneously to 2 persons and 3 times to 3 persons.
  • The first winner of the Turing Award was Alan Jay Perlis, an American computer scientist who was instrumental in getting computer science taught as an independent subject at American universities.
  • The youngest winner was only 36 years old: in 1974, Donald Knuth convinced the jury with “Computer Programming as an Art”.
  • And in 2006, Frances Elisabeth Allen was the first woman to win the Turing Award for her work on the theory and practice of compiler optimisation.

And the Turing Award goes to …


Year Name Sex Nationality
2023 Avi Wigderson male Israel
2022 Robert Melancton Metcalfe male USA
2021 Jack Joseph Dongarra male USA
2020 Alfred Vaino Aho male Kanada
2020 Jeffrey David Ullman male USA
2019 Patrick M. Hanrahan male USA
2019 Edwin Catmull male USA
2018 Yoshua Bengio male Canada
2018 Geoffrey Hinton male Canada
2018 Yann LeCun male France
2017 John Leroy Hennessy male USA
2017 David Andrew Patterson male USA
2016 Tim Berners-Lee male UK
2015 Bailey Whitfield Diffie male USA
2015 Martin Edward Hellman male USA
2014 Michael Ralph Stonebraker male USA
2013 Leslie Lamport male USA
2012 Shafi Goldwasser female USA
2012 Silvio Micali male Italy
2011 Judea Pearl male USA
2010 Leslie Gabriel Valiant male UK
2009 Charles P. Thacker male USA
2008 Barbara Liskov female USA
2007 Joseph Sifakis male France
2007 Ernest Allen Emerson male USA
2007 Edmund Melson Clarke male USA
2006 Frances E. Allen female USA
2005 Peter Naur male Denmark
2004 Robert E. Kahn male USA
2004 Vinton Gray Cerf male USA
2003 Alan Curtis Kay male USA
2002 Ronald Linn Rivest male USA
2002 Leonard M. Adleman male USA
2002 Adi Shamir male Israel
2001 Kristen Nygaard male Norway
2001 Ole-Johan Dahl male Norway
2000 Andrew Chi-Chih Yao male China
1999 Frederick P. Brooks male USA
1998 James Nicholas Gray male USA
1997 Douglas C. Engelbart male USA
1996 Amir Pnueli male Israel
1995 Manuel Blum male Venezuela
1994 Raj Reddy male India
1994 Edward Albert Feigenbaum male USA
1993 Richard Edwin Stearns male USA
1993 Juris Hartmanis male USA
1992 Butler W. Lampson male USA
1991 Robin Milner male UK
1990 Fernando José Corbató male USA
1989 William Morton Kahan male Canada
1988 Ivan Edward Sutherland male USA
1987 John Cocke male USA
1986 John E. Hopcroft male USA
1986 Robert Endre Tarjan male USA
1985 Richard M. Karp male USA
1984 Niklaus Wirth male Switzerland
1983 Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie male USA
1983 Kenneth Lane Thompson male USA
1982 Stephen Arthur Cook male USA
1981 Edgar F. Codd male UK
1980 Charles Antony Richard Hoare male UK
1979 Kenneth E. Iverson male Canada
1978 Robert W. Floyd male USA
1977 John Warner Backus male USA
1976 Michael Oser Rabin male Israel
1976 Dana Stewart Scott male USA
1975 Allen Newell male USA
1975 Herbert Alexander Simon male USA
1974 Donald Ervin Knuth male USA
1973 Charles W. Bachman male USA
1972 Edsger Wybe Dijkstra male Netherlands
1971 John McCarthy male USA
1970 James Hardy Wilkinson male UK
1969 Marvin Lee Minsky male USA
1968 Richard Wesley Hamming male USA
1967 Maurice Vincent Wilkes male UK
1966 Alan Jay Perlis male USA

Some statistical evaluations of the Turing Award

Here are some statistical evaluations of the Turing Award winners in terms of

  • origin,
  • gender,
  • first names and
  • age.


  • USA – 50 Winners 64,94% 64,94%
  • UK – 7 Winners 9,09% 9,09%
  • Canada – 5 Winners 6,49% 6,49%
  • Israel – 4 Winners 5,19% 5,19%
  • France – 2 Winners 2,60% 2,60%
  • Norway – 2 Winners 2,60% 2,60%
  • China – 1 Winner 1,30% 1,30%
  • Denmark – 1 Winner 1,30% 1,30%
  • India – 1 Winner 1,30% 1,30%
  • Italy – 1 Winner 1,30% 1,30%
  • Netherlands – 1 Winner 1,30% 1,30%
  • Switzerland – 1 Winner 1,30% 1,30%
  • Venezuela – 1 Winner 1,30% 1,30%






Youngest winner

Oldest Winner

Average age


Here you can find further information on the Turing Award.

The Bank of England honoured Alan Turing in 2021 with a launch of a new 50 pound note with the image of the computer pioneer.

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