This week I was in Boston for the Joint Math Meeting, a combined meeting of the AMS, MAA and a couple of other three-letter math societies with 7000 of my closest math buddies. This is the main American meeting of mathematicians one part of which are interviews for math jobs which seem few and far between.
The conference didn't seem large to me because I spent most of the meeting at the AMS-ASL Special Session on the Life and Legacy of Alan Turing. I got to see some exciting speakers I haven't seen before including Martin Davis, Andrew Hodges (who authored the famous Turing biography soon to be re-issued) and my great-grand advisor Marvin Minsky. Minsky talked mostly about the sorry state of AI over the past few decades including how the Watson people were working on the wrong problem. I found myself in the strange position of defending AI before my talk the next day.
Craig Bauer, a math historian, talked about the early days of voice encryption during Work War II, basically digitizing and then applying a one-time pad. Turing developed a mechanism that used a hardware PRG improving the quality of the audio and reducing the space needed from a large room to small box, though it was never deployed in the field.
Ted Slaman send me this link with Turing suggesting that PRG can help in searching. I guess Turing did care about running time after all but we still haven't found his lost letter on P v NP.
Interesting fact: Gödel and Turing both admired each other's work but there is no evidence that they ever met or had any direct communication of any kind.
A fun workshop but I'm all Turing'd out and it is only the first week of the Alan Turing Year though I am still looking forward to June to attending the ACM Turing Celebration in San Francisco and CiE in Cambridge.
Next week I'm off to Dagstuhl for Computability, Complexity and Randomness. The fun also continues in the Boston area with ITCS.