Turing and his Times

Video coverage from the 26/04 event at Bletchley Park

The video of the highly acclaimed Turing and his Times event organised by The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) is now online. The event, held on 26 April 2012, was to mark the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing and was the second of three Turing-themed events linking three of the top computing museums in the world.

Turing and his Times featured a talk by computer historian Prof Simon Lavington on Turing and his Contemporaries, a simulation of the Pilot ACE computer by TNMOC trustee Kevin Murrell, and the first formal public showing of a video commissioned by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the recollections of two of Turing’s colleagues. The event was chaired by highly respected journalist, commentator and technology critic, Bill Thompson.

The video is in three parts:

Part 1 Introduction and NPL video featuring two of Turing’s colleagues (14 mins).

Part 2 Prof Simon Lavington talks about Turing’s ideas post-1945.


Part 3 Kevin Murrell demonstrates a simulation of the Pilot ACE followed by a Q&A session with an unexpected appearance from the audience of someone who had actually programmed the Pilot ACE computer!


At The Computer History Museum in California on 7 March, historian George Dyson was in conversation with Museum President and CEO John Hollar about the influence of Alan Turing on John von Neumann (and vice-versa) as the digital universe was taking its present form.



In Germany, on 26 May, the Heinz Nixdorf Museum in Paderborn, Germany, hosted an event featuring two short lectures: Professor Dr Horst Zuse talking about his father Konrad Zuse and his computers, Professor Dr Paul Rojas comparing Turing and Zuse, plus videos of their Turing exhibition and the Heinz Nixdorf Museum’s working mechanical Turing machine.

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing, located at Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the largest collection of functional historic computers in Europe, including a rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic programmable computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s.

New working exhibits are regularly unveiled and the public can already view a rebuilt and fully operational Colossus, the restoration of the Harwell Dekatron / WITCH computer, an ICL 2966, one of the workhorse mainframes computers of the 1980s, many of the earliest desktops of the 1980s and 1990s, plus the NPL Technology of the Internet Gallery. In June 2010 TNMOC hosted Britain’s first-ever Vintage Computer Festival.

Funders of the Museum include Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, Black Marble, and the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.

The Museum is currently open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 1pm, and on Bank Holidays in spring and summer. Guided tours are also available at 2.30pm on Tuesdays, 2pm Sundays and some other days. Groups may visit at other times by arrangement and special organisation Away-Days can be booked.

For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+.