Google raises Turing Award prize to $1 million

So much comes together with this announcement. The Turing Award, created by the Association for Computing Machinery (of which I’m a member, full disclosure) is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for computer science. Founded in 1966 and valued at $250,000, it has been awarded for advancements and developments in all areas of computer science, from programming achievements to hardware to OS design and development, although it tends to skew towards methodologies and programming, which is understandable; it is a computer science award after all.

Previously jointly-funded by Intel and Google at a value of $250,000, Google has taken over the award funding after Intel ceased involvement and raised the value to $1 million. Considering the impact technology and computer science have in our lives (and the Alan Turing-based Google Doodle they created for his 100th birthday; do those numbers look familiar?), I think it’s about time, and it puts the Turing Award in league with the Nobel Prize, although the financial award for that fluctuates.

The Award

The Award

This also gives me one more opportunity to mention Alan Turing, the British mathematician and pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence who was instrumental in breaking the Enigma Code used by the Nazis during World War II through his development of a machine known as the Bombe, and for whom a well-known security mechanism that we use on an almost daily basis is named. Even with the huge, incalculable impact he had on the industry and the future direction of the world, his life was tragic and a part of debate – and action – in the British Parliament as recently as last month.

You may notice I didn’t include links in the above paragraph. I of course encourage you to find out about someone as important as he was, however I also don’t want to spoil any surprises. You see, it is his life about which the upcoming movie, The Imitation Game, is based. I mentioned it in class a couple of times, and to give too many details may take away from it, although the events and importance of his life are no secret.

I wanted to mention the increase in the award, impart the importance of Turing’s work, and encourage everyone to see the movie when it’s released at the end of the month. It’s had stellar reviews, won a bunch of awards, and I’m just glad to see people such as this (A movie about Stephen Hawking is out right now) rewarded and have their stories told.

I also feel there *should* be a Nobel prize for computer science.

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