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The computing universe: origins of computational thinking

This talk will explore the origins of computers and of ‘computational thinking’.

This talk will explore the origins of computers and of ‘computational thinking’. The story begins with the key contributions of Alan Turing and John von Neumann and the twin concepts of universality and hierarchical abstraction. As an illustration of the importance of abstraction, the ‘File clerk’ model of Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman computing will be described. Our examination of computer hardware takes us from logic gates to the microprocessor and Moore’s Law. On the software side, our discussion of algorithms begins with Euclid’s algorithm for the Greatest Common Divisor and ends with a description of PageRank, the ‘billion dollar’ algorithm that launched the search giant Google. An account of the origins of the personal computer, the Internet and Web then brings us up to the present. We end the talk with a look to the future with the rise of AI and Machine Learning and Butler Lampson’s ‘Third Age of Computing’.


Dr Tony Hey | talks


Date and Time:

29 October 2014 at 6:00 pm


1 hour



Mill Lane Lecture Rooms
Mill Lane

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Organised by:

Cambridge Festival of Ideas
See other talks organised by Cambridge Festival of Ideas...




Available from:

Pre-book online at www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk or by calling 01223 766766
Booking opens 22 September

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