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Turing Lecture 2012: London - From cryptanalysis to cognitive neuroscience - a hidden legacy of Alan Turing: the Turing Prestige Lecture

Ray Dolan, Mary Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry, and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL

From: The IETs Turing Lecture 2012, Savoy Place, London, 21 February 2012

20 February 2012  IT channel

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About the presentation

In 2012, Turing's centenary year, the IET/BCS Turing Lecture Professor Ray Dolan discusses the heritage of Turing's work, and its ongoing effects on computing today. Hear how Turing's strongly Bayesian problem solving approaches have advanced developments in understanding the workings of the brain and the human mind.
* Focussing on the challenges Turing faced in relation to Enigma
* Exploring Turing's strongly Bayesian problem solving approaches
* Looking at the similarities with the problem the brain faces in making sense of its environment
* Looking at how this translates into algorithms used in decisions in relation to the world
* Extending the problem to the greater complexity entailed by an environment where there are other intentional agents
* Determining how the approach and solutions to Enigma forged by Turing can be turned inwards, where the brain itself is the unknown, to probe mechanistic processes that give rise to the very apparatus that is the human mind
A brief history of the lecture
The all-pervasive nature of the general-purpose computer has made the most profound mark on almost every aspect of our lives. The central seminal figure in this computer revolution was Alan Turing, whose outstanding originality and vision was what made it possible, in work originating in the mid 1930s. Although it is now hard to see what the limits of the computer revolution might eventually be, it was Turing himself who pointed out to us the very existence of such theoretical limitations.
In honour and recognition of Turing's contribution in the field of computing, the IEE (as the IET was then) and the BCS established the Turing Lecture with the first lecture being presented in 1999.
It is a world leading event, presenting a topic from current research in computer science and given by an acknowledged expert in the field. The lecture has routinely had audiences of over 400 delegates at the London lecture. It is also usually toured around UK cities with some of the lectures in the past being held in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.
The content of the lecture is published in the BCS's Computer Journal and available for viewing on The lecture is intended to attract significant audiences from the industrial research/development and academic sectors. As such the lecture is accessible to a somewhat wider audience than those involved in the specific field of academic research. The IET and BCS jointly handle the promotion and administration of the lecture.

About the speaker

Ray Dolan is Mary Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry, and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL. He obtained his primary medical degree in Ireland (1977), and then trained as a Psychiatrist in London. He then embarked on a research career where he was one of the pioneers in using functional neuroimaging techniques to study human cognition. He was appointed Professor of Neuropsychiatry at UCL in 1996.
Ray Dolan is the author of over 440 peer reviewed publications. His principal research interests have been understanding human emotion and decision making. Between 2001 and 2011 he has been ranked as the most cited author in the world in the field of Neuroscience and Behaviour. He holds major grant funding from the Wellcome Trust.
He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych), Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), a Fellow of the Medical Academy of Sciences (FMedSci) , a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (Hon), (MRIA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS). He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Ghent University (2010).
He has received numerous awards including Alexander Von Humboldt International Research Award for Outstanding Scholars (2004), the Kenneth Craik Research Award (2006), the Minerva Foundation Golden Brain Award (2006), the Max Planck Research Award (2007), Santiago Grisolia Chair Prize, Fundacion Valenciana de Investigaciones Biomedicas (2012) In 2011 he was made Einstein Visiting Fellow by the State of Berlin.
Ray Dolan lives in London. He has numerous interests outside of his work being an enthusiastic hiker, an expert fly fisherman, a compulsive reader of literature and a lover of music.

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