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Google Boosts ACM's Turing Award Prize to $1 Million

By Lawrence M. Fisher

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 58 No. 1, Page 31

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ACM and search engine giant Google recently raised the funding level for the ACM A.M. Turing Award to $1 million.

The organizations say this quadruping of the cash award for Turing Award recipients (it previously was $250,000) is intended to raise the visibility of the Turing Award as the premier avenue of recognition for computer scientists and engineers who have made contributions of major technical and lasting importance to the computing field. The substantially larger cash award also reflects the continuing impact of computing on many aspects of daily life, through the innovations and technologies it enables.

The new amount will be awarded to Turing Award laureates beginning with the 2014 ACM A.M. Turing Award, which will be announced later this year, and which will be presented at the subsequent ACM Awards Banquet.

In a press conference to announce the funding increase, ACM president Alexander L. Wolf observed that thanks to "the generous support of Google, we can celebrate the mainstream role of computing in transforming the world and the way in which we connect, shop, and socialize. We can also commemorate the pioneering fundamental contributions of our ACM Turing Award recipients in advancing computing as a science and profession."

In attendance at the press conference were a number of Turing laureates, including:

Silvio Micali (2012), Barbara Liskov (2008), Edmund M. Clarke and Joseph Sifakis (2007), Butler W. Lampson (1992), Robert Tarjan (1986), and Michael O. Rabin (1976).

Another Turing laureate (and former ACM president), Vint Cerf (2004), appeared on video from Australia as "virtual Vint" to offer his congratulations and support.

Google vice president of engineering Stuart Feldman, a Fellow (and former president) of ACM, said Google "is proud to provide increased support for ACM's Turing Award and its unique role in recognizing fundamental contributions in computing and computing science. Our funding reflects our continuing commitment to foster technology breakthroughs that drive progress in the digital age."

Google depends on computing and on advances in computing, Feldman said, and "the Turing Award has represented the finest of thought and the broadest of impact." He added, "We appreciate this opportunity to help ACM raise awareness of the innovators who have shaped the lives of people around the world with their imagination and inspiration."

Since 1966, ACM has bestowed the A.M. Turing Award to honor the computer scientists and engineers who created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry. The award is named for British mathematician Alan Turing, who envisioned the power of the thinking machine, leading the way to innovations that have changed the world, including programmable computers, mobile devices, cryptology, artificial intelligence, robotics, genomics, and the philosophy of science.

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Lawrence M. Fisher is Senior Editor/News for ACM magazines.

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UF1Figure. Turing laureates joining the press conference announcing Google's increased funding support for the ACM A.M. Turing Award were treated to a short video on the life and accomplishments of pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing.

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