from the president
FIFTY YEARS AGO, ACMawarded the first A.M. Turing Award to Alan Perlis for his work on advanced programming techniquesandcompilercon-
struction. Since then, the award has
been given annually, with the 50th Tur-
ing Award presented last June to Whit-
field Diffie and Martin Hellman for
their work on public key encryption. In
total, 64 men and women from around
the world have received the Turing
Award, recognizing work laying down
the foundations of modern computing.
The prominence of the ACM Turing Award matches the impact of the
contributions it honors. In the 50 years
since its inception, the Award has become known as the “Nobel Prize of
Computing.” Thanks to the generous
support of Google, the award currently
carries a $1 million prize.
To celebrate the first 50 years of the
Turing Award, ACM is sponsoring a yearlong series of programs, as highlighted
on the Turing 50th website http://www.
acm.org/turing-award-50. This site consolidates information about the Turing
Laureates and Alan Turing himself. It
also presents the Panels in Print and provides information about the upcoming
Turing 50th conference.
Panels in Print is a series of writings on key computing topics of the
day. The first of these panels features
Raj Reddy, Jeff Dean, David Blei, and
Pedro Felzenszwalb discussing the state
of artificial intelligence and can be found
on p. 10 of this issue.
The culminating event of this anniversary year will be ACM’s Celebration of
50 Years of the Turing Award conference
that will take place June 23–24, 2017, in
San Francisco. This event will recognize
achievements in computing and will hon-
or the Turing Laureates, providing oppor-
tunities to hear from many of them. For
students and early career members of the
computing community there also will be
opportunities to meet and converse with
The conference program has been organized around seven moderated panel
discussions designed to span a range of
computing areas. The goal is to review
topics of current interest to both those
in the profession as well as to society at
large. Those participating in these discussions will include Turing Laureates,
ACM award winners, and others involved
in shaping the direction of computing.
We thank our distinguished Program
Committee (Craig Partridge, Fahad Dogar, Karen Breitman, Vint Cerf, Jeff Dean,
Joan Feigenbaum, Wendy Hall, Joseph
Konstan, and David Patterson) who guided the choice of topics, moderators, and
panelists. Panel topics will include:
˲ Advances in Deep Neural Networks:
How are deep neural networks changing
our world and our jobs and what breakthroughs may we imagine going forward?
˲ Restoring Personal Privacy without
Compromising National Security: Can
computing technology promote both personal privacy and national security?
˲ Moore’s Law Is Really Dead: What’s
Next? What old doors will this seismic
change close and what new doors will
˲ Quantum Computing: Far Away?
Around the Corner? Or Maybe Both at the
Same Time? For both theory and practice,
where we are headed, and what quantum
skills might be needed by future computing professionals?
˲ Challenges in Ethics and Computing: How do we recognize and address
ethical issues that arise with advances
˲ Preservingour Pastforthe Future: How
do we archive our electronic artifacts to
ensure we can read data and documents in
both the near and distant future?
˲ Augmented Reality—From Gaming
to Cognitive Aids and Beyond: How can
the sensing and sensory display technologies of augmented reality empower individuals and communities?
There will be multiple opportunities to
experience this Turing 50th Celebration
event. If you can attend in person you may
register at http://www.acm.org/awards/
turing-award-50-conference. There is
no registration fee for the meeting, but
space will be limited so early registration
is essential. Also, I would like to extend a
special thank you to several of the SIGs
who have sponsored (SIGARCH, SIGCHI,
SIGCOMM, SIGGRAPH, SIGHPC, SIGIR,
SIGKDD, SIGMM, SIGMOD, SIGPLAN,
and SIGSOFT) and supported (SIGACCESS,
SIGAI, SIGITE) the Turing event, including funding for students from
their SIGs to attend.
If you are not able to attend the event
in person, please note that the panel
discussions will be streamed live. They
also will be video recorded and made
available (with subtitles/closed captioning) through the ACM website.
We hope you are able to experience
this special ACM activity highlighting
the range and impact of Turing Award-winning work. Whether it be reading
the Panels in Print, watching the conference on video, or participating in person in San Francisco, ACM is working
to make this a valuable experience.
Vicki L. Hanson ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is ACM President,
Distinguished Professor at Rochester Institute of
Technology, and a professor at the University of Dundee.
Copyright held by author.
Celebrating 50 Years
of the Turing Award
DOI: 10.1145/3033604 Vicki L. Hanson