#Turing wont be on the new £10 note

So the Bank of England has decided that Jane Austen will grace the next issue of the £10 note. I, and many others, really wanted Alan Turing to be on the note, My wife is thrilled and although I’d have preferred Turing I’m not upset enough to send death and rape threats to Austen’s supporters via Twitter. How can anyone be so angry about this? Twitter was very slow to respond, and this should be a wake up call to all social media. Abusive messages shouldn’t be tolerated on any media. British police are now investigating the threats and have made an arrest.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2013/08/turing-wont-be-on-new-10-note.html


Robots get the best restaurant tables

Thanks to Mark Wilson for bringing this quirky story to my attention. The BBC reports that in Silicon Valley an online war has broken out between bots snapping up restaurant reservations. “The use of bots has made it almost impossible to get good tables at some of the most popular Valley eateries.” And I thought that getting a good table meant knowing the maitre d’ well.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2013/07/robots-get-best-restaurant-tables.html

Shchukarev’s forgotten logical thinking machine

I’d never heard of Professor Shchukarev and his “logical thinking machine,” a device able to mechanically make simple logical conclusions based on input assumptions, until I was asked to advice The Moscow Polytechnic Museum on its new computing exhibition. The logical thinking machine was an improvement on the “logic piano” devised by the English logician William Stanley Jevons. On Saturday, April 19 1912, in the big auditorium of the Polytechnical Museum, Professor Shchukarev gave a public lecture on the topic of “Cognition and thinking.” The lecture included the demonstration of his logical thinking machine, “a device that can reproduce mechanically the human thought process, i.e. to deduce conclusions based on given assumptions. The machine was first built by the mathematician Jevons and improved by the author of the lecture. The machine shows its results in plain word form.” The machine was lost during the chaos of World War One and the Russian Revolution. You can find a full history of this remarkable machine here.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2013/07/shchukarevs-forgotten-logical-thinking.html

Game Development Boot Camp – Auckland

If you’re a student in Auckland with an interest in game programming, you might want to attend the free Microsoft Game Development Boot Camp that is being held this weekend at The University of Auckland. There are prizes to be won! Full details of when and where can be found on the Bootcamp’s website.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2013/07/game-development-boot-camp-auckland.html

Quantum computing explained

You’ve probably heard of quantum computing, but like most of us you probably don’t have the slightest idea what it is. The famous physicist Niels Bohr once said, “If anybody says he can think about quantum physics without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them.Radio New Zealand interviewed science writer John Gribbin who did an excellent job explaining what quantum computing is and how it may change computation for ever. Gribbin’s new book Computing with Quantum Cats: From Colossus to Qubits looks like a great read.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2013/07/quantum-computing-explained.html

Computer Chess at the International Film Festival

The International Film Festival, now running in Auckland, prides itself in having a movie to suit every taste. There’s even one for the geeks amongst us Computer Chess described as a “stubbornly, gloriously retro saga set at an early-1980s computer-chess tournament (with a few ventures into the freaky couples-therapy seminar being held at the same hotel). The technology is dated, both on and off-screen, as hulking machines with names like ‘Tsar 3.0’ and ‘Logic Fortress’ battle for nerdly supremacy as a cameraman, wielding the vintage cameras that were actually used to film the feature, observes. Tiny dramas highlighting the deeply human elements lurking amid all that computer code emerge along the way. Though the Poindexters (and the grainy cinematography) are authentically old-school, the humor is wry and awkwardly dry – very 21st century.”
    The movie is showing today (Monday) and tomorrow – check the festival’s website for times and tickets.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2013/07/computer-chess-at-international-film.html

Alan #Turing to be given posthumous pardon

!!!!! Great news !!!!! It’s not a done deal yet, but The Guardian reports that the UK Government indicates its support for a backbench bill to pardon the mathematician and father of computer science who took his own life after his prosecution for gross indecency. Congratulations to everyone who signed the ePetition, those who lobbied their MP’s, and principally Lord Sharkey who brought the private members bill – Sharkey said: “As I think everybody knows, he was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency and sentenced to chemical castration. He committed suicide two years later. The government know that Turing was a hero and a very great man. They acknowledge that he was cruelly treated. They must have seen the esteem in which he is held here and around the world.
   Oscar Wilde next.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2013/07/alan-turing-to-be-given-posthumous.html