Tag Archives: Programming

Royal Pardon Of Computer Science Pioneer Alan Turing Just Draws Unnecessary Attention To A Sin That Cannot Now Be Rectified.

Click to access Wikipedia entry.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013...
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by Anura Guruge


Of course it is good that his name is being cleared by a ‘Royal Pardon‘ but I agitate in that I worry that this just draws attention to something that cannot be reversed.

Given that I did my first computer degree from 1971 to 1974, when computer science as an academic field was still quite young, we did a lot of work on Turing theory and Turing machines. Yes, of course, we had Turing machine simulators and we had to write Turing machine code. I kind of enjoyed that. Had to do Turing coding again for my Master’s in 1978 – 1979. Then in 2002 while teaching post-grads at SNHU I got them doing some Turing coding.
[Try this Turing Machine simulator.]

Cute artistic rendition of a tape-driven, 'theoretical' Turning machine.

Cute artistic rendition of a tape-driven, ‘theoretical’ Turing machine. Click to ENLARGE.

I don’t ever recall, in the 1970s, being told or reading that Turning was gay. I might have but I can’t remember.

A working Turing Machine. I never got to use anything like this. Best we had were programmatic simulators. Click to ENLARGE. From Wikipedia.

I think I only became aware of it last year when we were all celebrating the 100 year anniversary of his birth; dob: June 23, 1912.

I know it was important to the gay community but my own feeling is that we are drawing unnecessary attention to a facet of Alan Turing that is not germane to his brilliance.

What they did to him and his ‘suicide’ cannot be rectified. That is problem here. The pardon is just words. It is not like Obama pardoning Deval Patrick’s drug-dealing cousin. This pardon does not help Alan. He is gone.

Well, I, for one, will try to continue remembering Alan for his genius rather than for what happened or this Royal Pardon.

Merry Christmas to you All.


Very COOL, interactive Google Doodle for Alan’s 100th birthday June 23, 2013.
Click to not only access interactive Doodle but to also look at the pictures and write up.

gdturing100


Very cute, but 100% representative Turing Machine highlighting the ONLY 3 commands available, i.e., move tape left, move tape right & write/erase.
In theory this machine with those 3 commands is all powerful, though not much fun to program after the first few minutes of messing around.

Click to ENLARGE. From THE 'University of Cambridge'.

Click to ENLARGE. From THE ‘University of Cambridge’.


Alton Central School (ACS), To Their Credit, And Amazingly, Taking Part In ‘Code Day’ To Expose Kids To The JOYS Of Programming.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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Yes, they had sent flyers home.

But, I only really heard about it last Tuesday at the ACS ‘junior school’ concert when the Principal spoke about it twice (one in each ‘half’). Since I had NOT read the flyer and I could only go by what the Principal was saying I had NO IDEA what this was all about. The Principal spoke MAINLY about all the FREE food that will be available and the local restaurants that are kindly donating that food. I am glad. But, I wished she had STRESSED, did a little jig, and explained that this was an initiative to expose kids to the unmitigated JOYS of programming. Yes, I appreciate, that the Principal, the Superintendent, William (Bill) Lander and the School Board are extremely ‘oral‘ — but a little bit of elucidation about the ‘code‘ aspect of the evening as opposed to the ‘gastronomic‘ would have been cool.

That ACS is taking part in ‘Code Day‘ is cool.

Not sure whether the kids will get a full, uninterrupted HOUR to write some code that evening — but this is a good start. I just hope the kids aren’t distracted by the food. Hopefully, and this is a BIG hope, some of the teachers will try and continue this program sans the free food. But, to be fair, Devanee was taught MIT’s SCRATCH ‘animated programming’ a couple of years ago at ACS. So, that was good.

See below, after the images as to why I am so gung ho about kids getting exposed to the JOYS of programming.


codeday1

Click to ENLARGE. Use link below to access Website.

Link to access Website.


codeweek
Link to access Website.


codedaycsm

Click to access article …


I got a chance, in 1969, yes 1969, to take weekly 90 minute Computer Programming classes in school, viz. Mill Hill School in North London (also attended by Denis Thatcher and where James Murray, the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary once taught).

It was every Thursday and the classes were sponsored by the British International Computers Limited (ICL). They provided each of us with a BIG light green binder about computers and programming. I had yet to see a computer! But, computer programming and I clicked. Duck to the water. Natural affinity.

In those days there were no PCs. We didn’t have any terminals at the school. We wrote our programs on coding sheets; a practice that I continued to use, off and on, even when I worked for IBM, 8 years later — though by the time I was at IBM, and writing microcode, for the 3270 display system, I was classed as a programmer who wrote his code in ink (which I often did do) as opposed to pencil (because I was sure of what I was coding).

Our coding sheets were sent by mail (which is always overnight in the U.K.) to ICL. They punched it onto paper tape and ran it. The next Thursday we would get back our original coding sheets, the paper tape and the computer output. If you made a mistake you program would not have done what you wanted. But, it took a week to find out.

The rest is history. I went to Swansea College, University of Wales, to ‘study’ a 3-year B. Sc. course in Computer Technology. I, for the first time in my life, had unlimited access to computer resources. I programmed like I was possessed (in between near non-stop fornication). I had a great 3 years at Swansea. By my 2nd year at Swansea Ph. D. students were coming to me for help with their programs! One of my lecturers told IBM about me. IBM hired me during my 2nd year, after getting me to sit three IQ tests (as is permissible in the U.K., one of them at 10 pm at night) and told me that I can start work whenever I wanted — with or without a degree. Since I was having so much fun and really didn’t want to work — I hung around Swansea for another year and did get my 1st degree. Yes, I also do have a M. Sc. in Computer Science from the University of London — paid for by IBM.

Programming has been good for me, though in reality I didn’t write that much code professionally! I was considered ‘too good’ to just write code! A sign of the time. IBM and others wanted me to do more ‘executive’ tasks or do much more technical tasks such as Systems Programming or crafting microcode. I was IBM youngest ‘Planner’ — essentially a Product Manager. But, I wrote code in my ‘spare’ time — a program that I wrote as such in my spare time, which I called ‘NDSIO’, ‘New Display System Input/Output‘, where the ‘NDS’ was the now legendary 3270 display system, became a primary testing tool within IBM in the U.K., U.S. and Germany.

So, I am all in favor of kids being taught to program early.

The Hopkins Center 2013/2014 Program Preview On July 18, 2013. It Was Entertaining & Educational. Glad We Went.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.Hop50red

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Anura Guruge


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>>July 16, 2013.

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>>July 9, 2013.

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Margaret Lawrence, director of programming at the Hopkins Center for the Arts,

Margaret Lawrence

This multimedia presentation preview really brought the Hopkins’ published program vividly to life – just like a movie trailer for the upcoming season.

It was very well done by Margaret Lawrence, the Director of Programming for The Hop. She was impressive. I couldn’t find too much about her on the Web but I suspect that she has some thespian in her. Her summaries of each act, done without continually looking at notes or using a teleprompter, were succinct, incisive, insightful and revealing. As some one who has done a ton of public speaking I appreciate those that can present information from memory. Well done.

I learned a lot about performers and acts that I had seen in the Program but was not familiar with.

The British “The Tiger Lillies” was one. They look like a load of (adult) fun.

Click to access YouTube video.

Click to access YouTube video.


The kids were suitably impressed with this DJ Trio: A Tribe Called RedSince I can pass as Navajo among Navajo (albeit when I am closer to 190 than 165) I am quite partial to this music too. It is a standing room only jam. We might go.

Click for YouTube.

Click for YouTube.


So this was just a start. I won’t go through all the acts in this post. I will hit them sequentially over the weeks.

But some shows are already selling out!

So, you better check the Program and do so quick.

MargaretLawrence


Click to access 2013/2014 Program Brochure
online.

E-mail or call for your own (collectible) brochure:
Hopkins.center.box.office@dartmouth.edu
or 603.646.2422

Click to access to Hopkins box office.