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Turing round-up, February 2015

I just want to be done with Alan Turing posts, but stuff keeps happening. Here’s a very brief round-up of some recent Turing news:

There’s a petition to Pardon all convicted gay men, not just Alan Turing. Sign it or don’t or write 12,000 words hemming and hawing about it all. Up to you.

This is actually really interesting: some “Banbury sheets”, invented by Alan Turing to make breaking naval Enigma codes go quicker (here’s some more info on how that works by Tony Sale) have been found stuffed in the roof of Hut 6 at Bletchley Park.

The UK government is putting together a mega-huge new Alan Turing Institute for Data Science, combining support from all sorts of universities and research organisations. The Guardian tells us that it’s going to be based at the British Library in London, while the Manchester Evening News laments that the University of Manchester, where Turing worked after the war, has not been selected to be an official part of the Institute.

An Alan Turing expert answers your The Imitation Game questions

imitation game faq

The Imitation Game is the new film starring Sherlock Holmes as Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, and Keira Knightley as Kate Winslet as Joan Clarke. Together they are two mathematicians in World War II trying to build a bombe. The film will soon be available on DVD, blu-ray, and as an animated GIF set on tumblr.

These are the Imitation Game FAQs.

‘The Imitation Game’ Cryptography Competition

imitation game codes

To celebrate the release of the upcoming Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game (see our incisive analysis of the film’s trailer by James Grime) the guys at the University of Manchester – who have previously run the hugely successful Alan Turing Cryptography competition – have been asked to run a one-off Imitation Game Cryptography Competition. And they have.

The competition is themed around the (possibly true? Who knows. It’s not like it’s my job to research these things) idea that Alan Turing’s fortune in silver is buried in a secret location somewhere near Bletchley Park, and it’s your job to crack the three coded clues and find out where. Prizes will be in the form of exclusive Imitation Game merchandise donated by the makers of the film, and the competition runs until the 28th of November.

More information

Imitation Game Cryptography Competition

Maths at the Manchester Science Festival

Manchester Science Festival takes over the city from 23rd October – 2nd November this year, and it’s got a great selection of mathematical events. If you’re based locally, or thinking of heading over there for any of the time, here’s The Aperiodical’s guide to where to get your factorial fix.

Listen to the premiere of “A Man from the Future”

I could have sworn we posted about the fact the Pet Shop Boys were writing some music about Alan Turing, but I can’t find anything in the archives.

Anyway, the Pet Shop Boys have written a piece of music “inspired by codebreaker Alan Turing”, titled A Man from the Future (not The Man from the Future, the 2011 Brazilian classic), and it was performed for the first time on Wednesday as part of the BBC’s Proms season.

It’s not my cup of tea in the least bit, but we’ve covered every other bit of never-ending Turing centenary news so why not this one?

You can listen to the performance on BBC Radio 3 but, thanks to The Unique Way the iPlayer Works, the actual program starts about six minutes in.

Maths movie round up

You wait and wait for a movie about a mathematical genius, and then three come at once. I’ve got Turing, I’ve got Ramanujan, I’ve got Erdős. 

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