Alan Turing - Computer Designer

Speakers: Brian Carpenter
Date: May 17th 2012

Room open in advance (from 14.00) - meet up with society members.


Fellows Library of the Science Museum
Exhibition Road, London,SW7 2DD



About the seminar

Turing is widely regarded as a pure mathematician, so how was he able to write Proposals for development in the Mathematics Division of an Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) at the end of 1945.

Turing, in fact, was a pragmatist, and by the end of the Second World War he was even an amateur electronics engineer. He was also fortunate enough to be known to people like Hartree, Womersley and Comrie who were anxious to see work started on automatic computing devices.

This talk will cover:

The talk will be followed by discussion.

About the speaker

Brian Carpenter has just retired as Professor of Computer Science at the University of Auckland. Previously he worked for IBM, CERN, and Massey University in New Zealand. His main interest is the technology of the Internet. He is a former Chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force.


There is a Wikipedia entry on the ACE Computer Engine with general historical information and further references.

The first published analysis of Turing´s ACE report was B.E.Carpenter and R.W.Doran, The other Turing machine, Computer Journal 20 (1977) 269-279. That detailed paper can be viewed online. A reprint of the paper is also available - see: B.E.Carpenter (ed.) and R.W.Doran (ed.), A.M.Turing's ACE Report of 1946 and other papers, Vol. 10 in the Charles Babbage Institute Reprint Series, MIT Press, 1986.

The ACE computer has also featured in articles in Resurrection - specifically The evolution of ACE (D Davies in Issue 2), and Early Computer Development at NPL (D Davies in Issue 8).

Click to see a podcast of the event