Turing and his Times

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A special TNMOC event at Bletchley Park on 26 April 2012.

You Tube video of the event now online.

To mark the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) hosted an open meeting Turing and his Times on 26 April 2012 at 5pm at Bletchley Park, where Turing worked as a codebreaker during World War II. The TNMOC event was the second of three Turing-themed events linking three of the top computing museums in the world.

Tickets priced £10 (plus £1 booking fee) each are now available at etickets

Turing and his Times featured a talk by computer historian Prof Simon Lavington on Turing and his Contemporaries, a simulation of the Pilot ACE computer by TNMOC trustee Kevin Murrell, and the first formal public showing of a video commissioned by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the recollections of two of Turing's colleagues. The event was chaired by highly respected journalist, commentator and technology critic, Bill Thompson.

Professor Simon Lavington, author of the new book Turing and his Contemporaries, traced Alan Turing’s ideas from 1945 onwards and his imaginative but difficult interactions with his computing colleagues in the period leading to his tragic death in 1954. At the end of 1945 Alan Turing produced one of the earliest detailed specifications for a universal stored-program computer when he was working at NPL. It was confidently expected that NPL would build the world’s first modern computer, but things did not go according to plan. By 1948 Turing had resigned from NPL and by 1949 innovative computers designed by others had burst into life at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester.

Kevin Murrell demonstrated a simulation of the Pilot ACE, the computer developed by Turing and his team at NPL in the late 1940s. Operating an accurate representation of the front of the Pilot ACE, he demonstrated how complex and quick it was compared to other early computers.

There was also the first formal public showing of a ten-minute video made by Harriet Vickers and commissioned by NPL featuring vintage and very recent footage of Tom Vickers and Mike Woodger recalling their time working with Turing at NPL.

Tickets for the TNMOC Turing and his Times event are priced at £10 each (plus £1 booking fee) are available at etickets. A ticket will include entry to TNMOC from 1pm on the afternoon the event. The event itself will be in the Bletchley Park Mansion from 5pm - 6.30pm and followed by networking in the bar area.

Early visitors to the Turing and his Times event were able to see a display about Turing and the Pilot ACE at TNMOC in Block H at Bletchley Park, Brian Aldous, TNMOC volunteer Archivist and former NPL employee, has compiled a display about Turing which includes a copy of Turing's 78-page Pilot ACE proposal to NPL, the original NPL patent for acoustic delay lines and some examples of the use of the Pilot ACE .

Bletchley Park Trust's Turing display was also viewable during its normal opening hours and at the additional cost of a Bletchley Park entrance fee.

Notes To Editors

The Turing and his Times event at TNMOC is the second of three events about Turing hosted by three of the top computing museums in the world.

The first event at the Computer History Museum in California featured a talk by George Dyson on Turing's Cathedral is now available online

The third event on 26 May at the Heinz Nixdorf Museum in Germany will feature Professor Dr Horst Zuse talking about his father Konrad Zuse and his computers, Professor Dr Raul Rojas comparing Turing and Zuse, plus videos of their Turing exhibition and the Heinz Nixdorf Museum's working mechanical Turing machine.

To keep informed about these events and how to participate, see any of the museums' websites and sign up on Twitter to @3Museums.

Turing and his Contemporaries

Professor Simon Lavington's book Turing and his Contemporaries is available online.

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing located at Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the largest collection of functional historic computers in Europe, including a rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic programmable computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s. New working exhibits are regularly unveiled and the public can already view (from 5 March 2012) a rebuilt and fully operational Colossus, the restoration of the Harwell Dekatron / WITCH computer, an ICL 2966, one of the workhorse mainframes computers of the 1980s, many of the earliest desktops of the 1980s and 1990s, plus the NPL Technology of the Internet Gallery. In June 2010 TNMOC hosted Britain’s first-ever Vintage Computer Festival. Funders of the Museum include Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, Black Marble, and the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire. The Museum is currently open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 1pm, and on Bank Holidays in spring and summer. Guided tours are also available at 2pm on Tuesdays, Sundays and some other days. Groups may visit at other times by arrangement and special organisation Away-Days can be booked. For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+.

Media Contacts

Stephen Fleming
Palam Communications for TNMOC
t +44 (0) 1635 299116
e sfleming@palam.co.uk

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