Turing Award

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The AM Turing Award , named after Alan Turing , is presented annually by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to people who have made particular contributions to the development of computer science . It is considered the highest honor in computer science, comparable to the Nobel Prize or the Fields Medal .


A nomination for the Turing Award can be made by any natural person, but in addition to a curriculum vitae of the nominee, it must also contain a letter of reason (200 to 500 words) and at least three substantial letters of support from prominent representatives of the respective department. Although long-term influences of the creative process are taken into account, the proposed person should have achieved an individual achievement to be emphasized. The proposals are examined in a committee, which usually includes a. include several previous award winners.

The award is presented at the annual ACM Awards Banquet for the previous year. On the occasion of their award ceremony, the winners hold a special lecture at any ACM conference, the Turing Award Lecture , in which they present their views and experiences in key areas of computer science.

The award will be endowed with one million US dollars for 2014, which is sponsored by Google . Previously, the endowment since 2007 was $ 250,000 with Intel as a co-sponsor. Four years earlier, the prize pool had increased from $ 25,000 to $ 100,000.

Award winners

The first winner in 1966 was Alan J. Perlis , who had previously been President of the ACM and who later coined the term Turing tarpit (for a very flexible programming language that is difficult to learn and use in practice). With Frances Allen 40 years later received the first woman the award. In 1975 the prize went to more than one person for the first time ( Allen Newell and Herbert A. Simon , who worked together on artificial intelligence ).

Around two thirds of the awards went to US citizens.

year image person power Turing Award Lecture
1966 Alan J. Perlis
(1922–1990, ) United StatesUnited States
Advanced programming techniques and compiler building The Synthesis of Algorithmic Systems
1967 Maurice V. Wilkes Maurice V. Wilkes
(1913-2010, ) United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Construction of the EDSAC , the first computer with internally stored programs , and, together with David Wheeler and Stanley Gill, the effective introduction of program libraries with the work Preparation of Programs for Electronic Digital Computers Computers Then and Now
1968 Richard Hamming
(1915–1998, ) United StatesUnited States
Numerical methods , code-generating systems, error-detecting and error-correcting codes One Man's View of Computer Science
1969 Marvin Minsky Marvin Minsky
(1927-2016, ) United StatesUnited States
Artificial intelligence Form and Content in Computer Science
1970 James H. Wilkinson
(1919–1986, ) United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Numerical math , linear algebra , "backward" error analysis Some Comments from a Numerical Analyst
1971 John McCarthy John McCarthy
(1927-2011, ) United StatesUnited States
Artificial intelligence Generality in Artificial Intelligence
(published in revised form 1986)
1972 Edsger W. Dijkstra Edsger W. Dijkstra
(1930–2002, ) NetherlandsNetherlands
Technology and terminology of the programming languages The Humble Programmer
1973 Charles Bachman Charles Bachman
(1924-2017, ) United StatesUnited States
Database techniques The Programmer as Navigator
1974 Donald E. Knuth Donald E. Knuth
(* 1938, ) United StatesUnited States
Analysis of algorithms and design of programming languages, especially the contributions to the art of programming in The Art of Computer Programming Computer Programming as an Art
1975 Allen Newell
(1927-1992, ) United StatesUnited States
Artificial intelligence, psychology of human knowledge, list processing (originally with John Clifford Shaw ) Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search
Herbert A. Simon
(1916-2001, ) United StatesUnited States
1976 Michael O. Rabin Michael O. Rabin
(* 1931, ) IsraelIsrael
Nondeterministic automata (introduced in the paper Finite Automata and Their Decision Problem ) Complexity of Computations
Dana Scott Dana Scott
(* 1932, ) United StatesUnited States
Logic and Programming Languages
1977 John W. Backus John W. Backus
(1924-2007, ) United StatesUnited States
Higher programming languages (especially Fortran ), formal procedures for the specification of programming languages Can Programming Be Liberated From the von Neumann Style? A Functional Style and its Algebra of Programs, PDF file
1978 Robert Floyd
(1936-2001, ) United StatesUnited States
Methods for the generation of efficient and reliable programs, and help with the establishment of the computer science subfields parser theory , programming language semantics , automatic program verification and synthesis as well as algorithm analysis The Paradigms of Programming
1979 Kenneth E. Iverson
(1920-2004 ) CanadaCanada
Programming languages ​​and mathematical notation, implementation of interactive systems, use of APL in training, as well as contributions to the theory and practice of programming languages Notation as a Tool of Thought
1980 Tony Hoare Tony Hoare
(* 1934, ) United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Definition and design of programming languages The Emperor's Old Clothes
1981 Edgar F. Codd
(1923-2003, ) United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Theory and practice of database management systems , especially relational databases , which he developed in a series of papers on A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks , with which he laid the foundations for further research on database languages, query subsystems, database semantics, locking and recovery and put inferential data analysis Relational Database: A Practical Foundation for Productivity
1982 Stephen A. Cook Stephen A. Cook
(* 1939, ) United StatesUnited States
Complexity theory , especially the theory of NP-completeness founded in the paper The Complexity of Theorem Proving Procedures An Overview of Computational Complexity ( Memento from January 17, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 969 kB)
1983 Ken Thompson Ken Thompson
(* 1943, ) United StatesUnited States
Basic operating system theory , implementation of Unix Reflections on Trusting Trust ( Memento dated December 6, 2011 on WebCite )
Dennis Ritchie Dennis Ritchie
(1941–2011, ) United StatesUnited States
Reflections on Software Research
1984 Niklaus Wirth Niklaus Wirth
(* 1934, ) SwitzerlandSwitzerland
Development of several programming languages: Euler , Algol W , Modula and especially Pascal From Programming Language Design to Computer Construction
1985 Richard M. Karp Richard M. Karp
(* 1935, ) United StatesUnited States
Algorithm theory, in particular the development of efficient algorithms for network flow and other combinatorial optimization problems , the identification of computability in polynomial time and contributions to the theory of NP-completeness , where he developed a methodology for their detection Combinatorics, Complexity, and Randomness ( Memento from January 17, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 1.22 MB)
1986 John E. Hopcroft John E. Hopcroft
(* 1939, ) United StatesUnited States
Design and analysis of algorithms and data structures Computer Science: The Emergence Of A Discipline (PDF file; 494 kB)
Robert Tarjan Robert Tarjan
(* 1948, ) United StatesUnited States
Algorithm Design (PDF file; 944 kB)
1987 John Cocke
(1925-2002, ) United StatesUnited States
Compiler theory and design, architecture of large systems, design of RISC architecture; in particular for the discovery and systematisation of many transformations that are fundamental to the optimization of compilers, such as reducing operator strength, eliminating common subexpressions and dead code, register allocation and constant propagation The Search For Performance In Scientific Processors (PDF file; 402 kB)
1988 Ivan Sutherland Ivan Sutherland
(* 1938, ) United StatesUnited States
Computer graphics , starting with the development of Sketchpad , which introduced many important techniques, later also the development of a lorgnon for viewing stereo images, and elegant algorithms for registering digitized views, polygon clipping and surface representation with covered lines Micropipelines (PDF file; 3.01 MB)
1989 William Kahan William Kahan
(* 1933, ) CanadaCanada
Numerical mathematics, especially floating point calculations, with the development and propagation of the IEEE 754 and IEEE 854 standards
1990 Fernando José Corbató Fernando José Corbató
(1926–2019, ) United StatesUnited States
Concept and coordination of the development of the Compatible Time-Sharing System and Multics (which introduced many important concepts and techniques and influenced many later systems; Corbató's clock-based paging algorithm has since been used in practically all virtual storage systems), with pioneering work in many software engineering techniques, like data encapsulation through forced abstraction On Building Systems That Will Fail (PDF file; 997 kB)
1991 Robin Milner
(1934-2010, ) United KingdomUnited Kingdom
  • LCF , probably the first theoretically founded and practically applicable theorem prover
  • ML , the first programming language with polymorphic type inference and type-safe exception handling
  • CCS, a general theory of concurrency
Elements of Interaction (PDF file; 1.38 MB)
1992 Butler Lampson Butler Lampson
(* 1943, ) United StatesUnited States
Distributed, personalized computer environments (based on the paradigm personal computer / LAN / server instead of terminal / mainframe) and the technology for their implementation: workstations, networks, operating systems, displays, security and document publishing Principles for Computer System Design
( DOC , PDF , HTML )
1993 Juris Hartmanis Juris Hartmanis
(* 1928, ) United StatesUnited States
Justification of the complexity theory with the paper On the Computational Complexity of Algorithms On Computational Complexity and the Nature of Computer Science
Richard E. Stearns Richard E. Stearns
(* 1936, ) United StatesUnited States
It's Time to Reconsider Time (PDF file; 736 kB)
1994 Edward Feigenbaum Edward Feigenbaum
(* 1936, ) United StatesUnited States
Design and construction of large artificial intelligence systems that demonstrated the practical importance and commercial impact of AI technology (Reddy: speech recognition, Feigenbaum: rule-based expert systems) How the “What” Becomes the “How” (PDF file; 322 kB)
Raj Reddy Raj Reddy
(* 1937, ) United StatesUnited States
To Dream The Possible Dream (PDF file; 207 kB)
1995 Manuel Blum Manuel Blum
(* 1938, ) VenezuelaVenezuela
Complexity theory and its application in cryptography and program testing
1996 Amir Pnueli Amir Pnueli
(1941–2009, ) IsraelIsrael
Temporal logic; Program and system verification, especially for concurrent and reactive systems (with the paper The Temporal Logic of Programs ) Verification Engineering: A Future Profession ( GZIP ; 70 kB)
1997 Douglas C. Engelbart Douglas C. Engelbart
(1925–2013, ) United StatesUnited States
Future vision of the interactive computer, invention of key technologies for their realization (the mouse, windows, hyperlinks, teleconferences, online publishing) Collective IQ and a framework for bootstrapping our society
1998 Jim Gray Jim Gray
(1944–2012, ) United StatesUnited States
Databases and transaction processing, and technical leadership in system implementation from prototypes to commercial products What Next? A Few Remaining Problems in Information Technology (PDF file; 2.71 MB)
1999 Frederick P. Brooks Frederick P. Brooks
(* 1931, ) United StatesUnited States
Computer architecture , operating systems , software engineering The Design of Design ( Memento from June 23, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
2000 Andrew Yao Andrew Yao
(* 1946, ) China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China
Computability theory , especially the complexity-based theory of pseudo-random number generation , cryptography and communication complexity
2001 Ole-Johan Dahl
(1931–2002, ) NorwayNorway
Fundamental ideas for the advent of object-oriented programming through the design of the Simula programming languages ​​that introduced concepts such as objects, classes, and inheritance The Development of the Key Object-Oriented Concepts
(The lecture was not given because both award winners had passed away)
Kristen Nygaard Kristen Nygaard
(1926-2002, ) NorwayNorway
2002 Ronald L. Rivest Ronald L. Rivest
(* 1947, ) United StatesUnited States
Asymmetrical encryption algorithms , especially RSA , and their practical applicability The Early Days of RSA - History and Lessons
( HTML-Slides , QuickTime , Shockwave , MP3 )
Adi Shamir Adi Shamir
(* 1952, ) IsraelIsrael
Cryptography: State Of The Science
( HTML-Slides , QuickTime , Shockwave , MP3 )
Leonard Adleman Leonard Adleman
(* 1945, ) United StatesUnited States
( HTML Slides , QuickTime , Shockwave , MP3 )
2003 Alan Kay Alan Kay
(* 1940, ) United StatesUnited States
Basic ideas of modern object-oriented programming languages ​​with the development of Smalltalk and their graphical development environment, as well as the integration of their concept in the Xerox Alto and the Dynabook and thus contributions to personal computing The Computer Revolution Hasn't Happened Yet (MOV file; 0 kB)
2004 Vinton G. Cerf Vinton G. Cerf
(* 1943, ) United StatesUnited States
Internet, especially development of TCP / IP (none, instead a panel discussion ; MOV file; 0 kB)
Robert E. Kahn Robert E. Kahn
(* 1938, ) United StatesUnited States
2005 Peter Naur Peter Naur
(1928–2016, ) DenmarkDenmark
Contributions to the design of programming languages ​​and the definition of Algol 60 , compiler design (with Jørn Jensen implementation of the GIER Algol compiler, which offered procedures fully supported, abstract type checking and test coverage checking) and the art and practice of programming (introduction of assertions, use of structured programming ) Computing vs. Human Thinking (MOV file; 0 kB)
2006 Frances E. Allen Frances E. Allen
(1932-2020, ) United StatesUnited States
Theory and practice of compiler optimization, laying the foundations for modern automatic program optimization and parallel processing (alone, for example with the paper Program Optimization, which introduced graph-theoretic structures into the optimization analysis, and together with John Cocke ) Compiling for Performance - A Personal Tour (MOV file; 0 kB)
2007 Edmund M. Clarke Edmund M. Clarke
(* 1945, ) United StatesUnited States
Development of the model testing established independently by Clarke / Emerson and Sifakis into an effective verification technique widely used in the hardware and software industry Model Checking - My 27 year quest to overcome the State Explosion problem (MOV file; 0 kB)
(QuickTime, later republished in a revised form with the other two )
E. Allen Emerson
(* 1954, ) United StatesUnited States
Model Checking: A Bird's-Eye View (MOV file; 0 kB)
(QuickTime, later re-released with the other two in a revised form )
Joseph Sifakis Joseph Sifakis
(* 1946, ) GreeceGreece
The Quest for Correctness - Beyond Verification
( PDF , QuickTime (MOV file; 0 kB); later republished in a revised form with the other two )
2008 Barbara Liskov Barbara Liskov
(* 1939, ) United StatesUnited States
Contributions to programming language and operating system design, especially in connection with data abstraction, modularity, fault tolerance , persistence and distributed computing The Power of Abstraction
2009 Charles P. Thacker Charles P. Thacker
(1943-2017, ) United StatesUnited States
Pioneered the design and implementation of the Alto, the first personal computer with a graphical user interface, and contributed to the development of Ethernet and tablet PCs Improving the Future by Examining the Past
2010 Leslie Valiant Leslie Valiant
(* 1949, ) United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Significant contributions to complexity theory, especially computational learning theory (with the introduction of the PAC model), enumeration and algebraic computational complexity and the theory of parallel and distributed computing The Extent and the Limitations of Mechanistic Explanations of Nature
2011 Judea Pearl
(* 1936, ) United StatesUnited States
Fundamental contributions to artificial intelligence through the development of a calculus for probabilistic and causalistic reasoning The Mechanization of Causal Inference: A "mini" Turing Test And Beyond
2012 Silvio Micali Silvio Micali
(* 1954, ) United StatesUnited States
Creation of the complexity-theoretical foundations of cryptography and thus preparation for new methods for the efficient verification of mathematical proofs in complexity theory Proof According to Silvio
Shafi Goldwasser Shafi Goldwasser
(* 1958, ) United StatesUnited States
The Cryptographic Lens
2013 Leslie Lamport Leslie Lamport
(* 1941, ) United StatesUnited States
Fundamental contributions to the theory and practice of distributed and concurrent systems An Incomplete History of Concurrency
2014 Michael Stonebraker Michael Stonebraker
(* 1943, ) United StatesUnited States
Contributions to the concepts and procedures underlying modern database systems Postgres
2015 Whitfield Diffie Whitfield Diffie
(* 1944, ) United StatesUnited States
Outstanding contributions to modern cryptography The Evolving Meaning of Information Security (PDF file; 732.9 kB)
Martin E. Hellmann Martin E. Hellman
(* 1945, ) United StatesUnited States
2016 Sir Tim Berners-Lee Tim Berners-Lee
(* 1955, ) United KingdomUnited Kingdom
World Wide Web , first web browser and basic protocols and algorithms that make the web scale The World Wide Web
(YouTube video)
2017 John L. Hennessy John L. Hennessy
(* 1952, ) United StatesUnited States
Novel approach to the design and evaluation of computer architectures with lasting effects on the microprocessor industry. A Golden Age for Computer Architecture
(YouTube video)
David A. Patterson David A. Patterson
(* 1947, ) United StatesUnited States
2018 Yoshua Bengio Yoshua Bengio
(* 1964 ,, born in ) CanadaCanadaFranceFrance
Neural networks and deep learning .
Yann LeCun Yann LeCun
(* 1960, ) FranceFrance
Geoffrey Hinton Geoffrey Hinton
(* 1947, ) United KingdomUnited Kingdom
2019 Edwin Catmull Edwin Catmull
(* 1945, ) United StatesUnited States
Fundamental contributions to 3D computer graphics and the influence of these techniques on computer generated images (CGI) in filmmaking and other applications.
Pat Hanrahan Pat Hanrahan
(* 1955, ) United StatesUnited States

Turing Centenary Celebration

In June 2012, 100 years after Alan Turing's birth, 33 winners of the Turing Awards met for the ACM Turing Centenary Celebration in San Francisco to hold lectures and panel discussions on topics such as Information, Data, Security in a Networked Future or An Algorithmic View of to exchange the universe .

Web links

Commons : Turing Award  - Collection of images, videos and audio files