Emeritus Professor

Department of Computer Science

University of Warwick


Distinguished Lecture and Alan Turing Centenary Event

Alan Turing’s Other Universal Machine: The ACE

5pm, Wednesday 5th December 2012

Faraday Lecture Theatre, Faraday Building

The talk is part of the Alan Turing Centenary celebrations, and supported by the College of Science EPSRC Research Fund and Software Alliance Wales.

Tea and coffee is available before the lecture, which starts at 5.30pm. 

The lecture is followed by a reception, and by a Swansea Science Café event:

To Kill A Machine

a performance of a play about Alan Turing, starting at 7.30pm, Café West, Fulton House. 


In October 1945, shortly after finishing his code-breaking activity at Bletchley Park, Alan Turing was recruited by the National Physical Laboratory to design an electronic digital computer, the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine). The ACE was a highly innovative design that set it apart from all contemporary computers: the machine traded some complexity of programming for an efficiency gain of a factor of at least five. Several commercial derivatives were produced including the highly successful English Electric DEUCE and the Bendix G-15. This lecture describes the genesis of the ACE from Turing’s On Computable Numbers paper of 1936 and John von Neumann’s EDVAC Report of 1945, and its role in the shaping the early computer industry.

Speaker's biography

Martin Campbell-Kelly is emeritus professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick, where he specializes in the history of computing. His books include Computer: A History of the Information Machine, co-authored with William Aspray, From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry, and ICL: A Business and Technical History. He is editor of the Collected Works of Charles Babbage. Professor Campbell-Kelly is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, visiting professor at Portsmouth University, and a columnist for the Communications of the ACM. He is a member of the ACM History Committee, a council member of the British Society for the History of Mathematics, and a committee member of the BCS Computer Conservation Society. He is a member of the editorial boards of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, the International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology, the Rutherford Journal, and editor-in-chief of the Springer Series in the History of Computing.