Exhibition 'Turings Erfenis' opens doors

To honour the Alan Turing Year 2012, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam organizes the exhibition 'Turings Erfenis'. 23 June 2012 is the worldwide celebration of the famous British mathematician Alan Turing’s centenary.


To honour the Alan Turing Year 2012, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam organizes the exhibition 'Turings Erfenis'. 23 June 2012 is the worldwide celebration of the famous British mathematician Alan Turing’s centenary. Turing (1912-1954) is known as the founding father of computer science and artificial intelligence, and as Enigma code breaker in World War II. The temporary exhibition is open from 14 June until 6 October 2012.

Turing was one of the few people of his time that realized the influence that computers could have on society. The exhibition covers Alan Turing’s work and shows how his ideas are applied in contemporary research. It also displays historical computer  devices such as calculators, computer systems and in- and output devices.

The exhibition shows an original Enigma from World War II and a Turing machine made out of LEGO, built by two CWI researchers. This machine shows the workings of a computer based on Turing’s ideas in 1936. A film about a robot helping young children cope with diabetes shows how artificial intelligence has developed since Turing. The exhbition also shows Turing’s impact on biology. In 1952 he proposed a mechanism for pattern forming. These so-called Turing patterns play an important role in embryonic development such as the spacing of hair and the asymmetry of the heart.

The historical objects in the exhibitions include an X1, one of the first Dutch computers developed at the ‘Mathematisch Centrum’ (CWI’s former name), the iconic Osborne laptop and the first Macintosh computer. The exhibition also covers the concept of programming, taking the visitor on a trip through time from Jacquard to Babbage to Turing and to the future.

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Visitor Information: Tours of the exhibiton are organized on Thursday and Friday afternoons. Reservations can be made through tentoonstelling@cwi.nl. On Saturday 23 June, Turing’s centenary, and Saturday 6 October, the annual Science Park Doors Open Day, free access to the exhibition is provided from 12.00 P.M. to 4.00 P.M.  

The Alan Turing exhibition is initiated by the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam and realized with support of the Municipality of Amsterdam, Nikhef, Instituut voor Informatica (IvI, UvA), the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC, UvA) and the Kortweg-de Vries Instituut (KdV, UvA). The exhibition is organized with contributions of CWI, IOS Press i.s.m. King’s College Cambridge, LEGO Netherlands, TNO, TU Delft Library and UvA Computer Museum.

 Image: Turingmachine of LEGO, built by CWI researchers Jeroen van den Bos and Davy Landman