SMS scnews item created by Donald Cartwright at Wed 5 Dec 2007 1132
Type: Seminar
Distribution: World
Expiry: 6 Dec 2007
Calendar1: 6 Dec 2007 1830-1930
CalLoc1: Footbride Lecture Theatre

THE 2007 TEMPLETON LECTURE: Professor Jack Copeland -- Alan Turing and the Curious Birth of Artificial Intelligence

From usyd happenings:
Professor Jack Copeland
Department of Philosophy,
University of Canterbury, NZ

"Alan Turing and the Curious Birth of Artificial Intelligence"

Thursday, 6th December 2007 at 6:30 pm

The Footbridge Lecture Theatre
(on Parramatta Road)
University of Sydney
Free Admission, All Welcome

Jack Copeland is Professor of philosophy and director of the Turing Archive
for the History of Computing at the University of Canterbury in
Christchurch, New Zealand. He also heads the School of Philosophy and
Religious Studies at Canterbury. He received his D.Phil. in mathematical
logic from the University of Oxford. Dr Copeland was on the faculty of
universities in Australia and the United Kingdom before joining the
University of Canterbury.

He has been a visiting professor at the universities of Sydney, Aarhus,
Melbourne, and Portsmouth, and a senior fellow of the Dibner Institute for
the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. He is president of the U.S.-based Society for Machines and
Mentality. In June of 2004, the 50th anniversary of Alan Turing’s death, he
delivered the first annual Turing Memorial Lecture at Bletchley Park
National Museum and lectured on Turing’s life at the Royal Institution of

He is founding editor of The Rutherford Journal for the History and
Philosophy of Science and Technology and serves on the board of editors of
Minds and Machines and of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy. In
addition to publishing more than one hundred articles in academic journals
and chapters in volumes of collected works, he is the author "Artificial
Intelligence: A Philosophical Introduction", published in 1993 by Blackwell
and subsequently translated into Hebrew and Spanish (a second edition is
forthcoming in 2008). He served as editor of "Logic and Reality: Essays on
the Legacy of Arthur Prior" (Oxford University Press 1996) and co-editor
(with Per Hasle, Peter Øhrstrom, and Torben Braüner) of "Papers on Time and
Tense" (Oxford University Press 2003), a new edition of Prior’s influential
book. Copeland’s other books include "The Essential Turing: Seminal Writings
in Computing, Logic, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial
Life" (Oxford University Press 2004), "Alan Turing’s Automatic Computing
Engine: The Master Codebreaker’s Struggle to Build the Modern Computer"
(Oxford University Press 2005), and "Colossus:The Secrets of Bletchley
Park’s Codebreaking Computers" (Oxford University Press 2006). Two
forthcoming books, "Turing’s Machines" and (with Diane Proudfoot) "A Very
Short Introduction to Philosophy of Religion", also will be published by
Oxford University Press.


Alan Turing conceived the basic principle of the modern computer, the idea
of controlling the machine’s operations by means of a program of
instructions stored in the computer’s memory. In 1936, at Cambridge, he
described the abstract digital computing machine--now referred to simply as
the universal Turing machine--on which the modern computer is based. With
the outbreak of war in 1939, Turing joined the Government Code and Cypher
School at Bletchley Park, where he broke Naval Enigma--a decisive factor in
the Battle of the Atlantic--and designed the computing machines known as
’Bombes’ which produced a flood of high-grade intelligence from Enigma
messages. Bletchley Park was also home to the ultra secret ’Colossus’.

Colossus, whose existence was classified for many decades, was the first
large-scale electronic computer, although it did not incorporate Turing’s
stored-program idea. During 1945 Turing drew up the design for an electronic
stored-program universal digital computer--a Turing machine in hardware. A
computer based on Turing’s design, the DEUCE, went on to become a
cornerstone of the fledgling British computer industry. Turing also founded
the field now called ’Artificial Intelligence’. The history books invariably
misdescribe the origins of the field of Artificial Intelligence, and many
authors on the history of computing are unaware of Colossus and the pivotal
role that it played in the development of the modern computer. This lecture
sets the record straight.

WORKSHOP: Friday, 7th December 2007, 9:30am-12noon
"An Introduction to the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence"

Pharmacy Lecture Theatre, Science Rd.
Free Admission, All Welcome.
A morning tea will be provided - please RSVP.
RSVP: Peter Farleigh <>

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