Turing Breakthroughs Celebrated 60 Years On

Tribute will be paid to Alan Turing at the 2012 IET / BCS Turing Lecture today, celebrating the largely unrecognised contribution made by the computer scientist and cryptanalyst to neuroscience. This in, his centenary year, will pay particular attention to Turing’s role at Bletchley Park in the deciphering of the Enigma and the significant impact this approach has on tackling the mysteries of the human brain; approaches that could significantly accelerate the advancements made in neuroscience.

Now in its 14th year, the Turing Lecture, co–hosted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, will be delivered by Professor Ray Dolan FRS, Mary Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, at UCL. Providing a background to Turing’s celebrated work during the Second World War, Dolan will also discuss Turing’s subtle but significant impact on cognitive neuroscience by revealing how his problem solving approaches, largely based on Thomas’ Bayes theory of inductive inference, are advancing developments in understanding the workings of the human brain.

Regarding his upcoming lecture, Dolan commented, “I am delighted to have been invited to deliver the IET / BCS Turing Lecture, as it continues to be internationally recognised as one of the most prestigious lectures. With this year being Turing’s centenary year, I will use the lecture to highlight how the challenges he faced throughout his time at Bletchley Park have laid the foundation for how we can make sense of the mechanistic processes that give rise to our own enduring enigma; the human mind.”

Entitled “From cryptanalysis to cognitive neuroscience – a hidden legacy of Alan Turing”, Dolan will be presenting his lecture in four locations across the UK in February, London (21st) Cardiff (23rd), Manchester (28th) and Edinburgh (29th). The London lecture will also be viewable over a live web cast, for those who have missed out on securing their attendance.

“2012 will see a multitude of celebrations across the globe to pay homage to this great man. It will however be my privilege to use this opportunity to celebrate the legacy he has bestowed on the field of neuroscience,” concluded Dolan.