Charles Petzold Talking at U of T on March 5

I’m very pleased to announce that noted computing author Charles Petzold will be giving a talk at the University of Toronto on Thursday, March 5, 2009. The talk is based on his most recent book, an extended commentary the 1936 paper in which Alan Turing created Turing machines. The talk is free and open to the public, and will be held in Room 1160 of the Bahen Centre at 40 St. George Street starting at 7:00 pm.

Alan Turing’s Amazing Imaginary Computing Machine

In 1936, English mathematician Alan Turing invented an imaginary computing machine to help him solve a problem in mathematical logic. From these humble beginnings, the Turing Machine has become an essential tool in understanding computation and so much more. In a discussion largely free of mathematics and technical issues, Charles Petzold—author of the recent book The Annotated Turing—traces the history of this odd mathematical tool: from its original conception in 1936, to its starring role in the cybernetics movement of the 1940s and 1950s, to its application by philosophers, neurologists, physicists and cosmologists in everything from understanding human consciousness to grappling with the information-saturated universe in which we live. In our post-Turing world, everything is a Turing Machine.

Charles Petzold is the author of Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Microsoft Press, 1999), The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour through Alan Turing’s Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine (Wiley, 2008), and several best-selling books on computer programming.