What is the A.M. Turing Award?
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.
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 57 times.
- 76 persons have been honoured, 43 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 …
Some statistical evaluations of the Turing Award
Here are some statistical evaluations of the Turing Award winners in terms of
- first names and
- USA – 50 Winners 65,79% 65,79%
- UK – 7 Winners 9,21% 9,21%
- Canada – 5 Winners 6,58% 6,58%
- Israel – 3 Winners 3,95% 3,95%
- France – 2 Winners 2,63% 2,63%
- Norway – 2 Winners 2,63% 2,63%
- China – 1 Winner 1,32% 1,32%
- Denmark – 1 Winner 1,32% 1,32%
- India – 1 Winner 1,32% 1,32%
- Italy – 1 Winner 1,32% 1,32%
- Netherlands – 1 Winner 1,32% 1,32%
- Switzerland – 1 Winner 1,32% 1,32%
- Venezuela – 1 Winner 1,32% 1,32%
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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