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Posts Tagged: turing

am turing: automatic elegy

Our June 22nd performance and installation was a success, and audience reactions were very gratifying. I will edit video excerpts and post at some point, but in the meantime, besides posting a few photos of the event, I want to credit members of the cast and those who provided artistic input. Thank you all. This […]

turing among the machines

One of the defining characteristics of Alan Turing was his pairing of supremely abstract thinking with a very real-world interest in the nuts and bolts of machines. He enjoyed hands-on physics, chemistry, and biology experiments his entire life, and had already begun his life-long adventures with computing machines with analog devices when he recognized and […]

introduction to the ACE report

From Turing’s Proposal for Development in the Mathematics Division of an Automatic Computing Engine (ACE): “Calculating machinery in the past has been designed to carry out accurately and moderately quickly small parts of calculations which frequently recur. The four processes addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, together perhaps with sorting and interpolation, cover all that could […]

the weaving commences

While I’ve been slacking off, Geoff Shilling has fortunately remained busy, continuing to fabricate wooden pieces for the installation. He’s now starting on the woven pieces, including a rendering of the famous portrait shown in this post. Look carefully at the characters that he is using for the half-toning; they will be familiar to anyone […]

I hope that this work is self-explanatory

An obscure paper, but a wonderful view into Turing’s mind and the practical problems associated with cracking the Enigma daily: CRITIQUE OF RUNNING SHORT CRIBS ON THE U. S. NAVY BOMBE. The snarky jabs at builders who don’t really understand the day-to-day operation of the system will be very familiar to anyone who designs a […]

sonification of Turing’s work

Alan Turing is among the handful of thinkers who formulated the concept of algorithmic computation. Every task that we perform with a computer begins with an algorithm, and yet this concept, which we now take for granted, was not yet formalized in the 1930s. This simple, yet immensely impactful, contribution is why I’ve chosen to […]

fabrication has begun

Long-time collaborator Geoff Shilling and I did an intensive three days in his shop last week, and our installation is definitely starting to take shape. 41 blackboards, complete with road cases, ready for chalking. Geoff, who is a fiber artist, will also be participating in the live portion of this event as well as creating […]

a taste of programming the Mark I

  Besides containing math that helped to advance work on the Riemann Hypothesis, Turing’s paper “Some Calculations of the Riemann Zeta Function” also contains a great snapshot of what it was like to program the first generation of electronic computers. I’ll start with the widely-quoted introduction to the paper, which I’ve annotated a bit: “In June […]

obituary quotations

“It was a great loss to natural science as well as to mathematics when, on June 8, at the age of 41, he was found dead in his house at Wilmslow in Chesire.” — Kings Report 1954 [No mention of his wartime achievements, of his sexuality, or of suicide.] “Turing took a particular delight in […]

don’t let the wish grow cold!

The apple. Such a powerful symbol, so ambiguous. Such a stylish way to make an exit. Dip the apple in the brew. Let the Sleeping Death seep through. Why did this resonate with Turing? What did it mean to him? Why such a fascination with it? Temptation? Evil? An ironic eternity waiting for True Love’s […]