BCS announces annual Turing Lecture

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Among the eight nominees for Best Picture currently courting the favor of members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is The Imitation Game, a World War II historical drama about the fight to unlock the secrets of Nazi Germany's Enigma encoding device. Foremost among the many contributors to that effort is mathematician and computer science trailblazer Alan Turing, the film's protagonist.


Turing's name and complicated history are also attached to a series of annual lectures begun in 2001 and sponsored by the British Computer Society and the Institution for Engineering and Technology. In 2015, the lecture is sure to gain added free publicity from the film, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch in an Oscar-nominated performance as Turing, and not just because the film has ushered Turing back onto the world stage.


On Feb. 22, the Academy Awards will be handed out. The next morning, on Feb. 23, 24, 25 and 26, the Turing Lecture will go touring across the United Kingdom, possibly accompanied by a sudden surge in interest generated by a fistful of Oscars — The Imitation Game is nominated in eight categories. Both Cumberbatch and the film are seen as underdogs in this year's Academy Awards competition, but tides can turn.


Whether or not Oscar smiles on The Imitation Game, this year's lecture series is likely to draw in some crowds with its hot-button of the ever-expanding, all-encompassing internet. This year's speaker is Robert Pepper, Vice President of Global Technology Policy for Cisco. Pepper holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but we suspect he might prefer not to be addressed by his formal educational title.


Pepper's lecture will address the looming impact of the Internet of Things (as most people commonly refer to it), which you may have also heard called the Internet of Everything (something that Cisco has been trying to make happen, probably for trademark and marketing purposes). The title of the lecture is "The Internet Paradox: How Bottom-up Beat(s) Command and Control." (Nobody puts the internet in a corner.)


The lecture is free and open to the public, though registation is requested to manage seating. Pepper's four-day tour will begin at The Royal Institution in London, followed in succession by stops at Cardiff University (in Cardiff, Wales), the University of Manchester (in Manchester, England) and City Hall in Belfast (capital of Northern Ireland). The final destination is a first for the Turing Lecture, which has never visited Belfast before.


Pepper has had an eye on the internet for quite some time. Before accepting a position at Cisco in 2005, he was Chief of the Office of Plans and Policy and Chief of Policy Development with the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., working on shaping and implementing internet and telecommunications legislation for more than 15 years.


The Turing Lecture was begun in 1999 to honor the memory of Turing and celebrate his towering legacy in the field of computing. Corporate sponsorship of the lecture series is available, something that might be a nice gesture from The Weinstein Company, the studio distrbuting The Imitation Game.

Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
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