Prof. Dr. Felix Naumann

The Turing Award - Studying Computer Science Achievements

A Bachelor Seminar across HPI

The A.M. Turing Award, the Association of Computing Machinery's most prestigious technical award, is given for major contributions of lasting importance to computing. The award was first given in 1966 to Alan J Perlis for his influence in the area of advanced programming techniques and compiler construction. Since then 62 women and men, the best compter scientists, have been given the award for their contributions in various fields, such as  Jim Gray for transaction management, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn for internetworking and TCP/IP, Marvin Minsky for artificial intelligence, Don Knuth for algorithm analysis, Douglas Engelbart for interactive computing, and Barbara Liskov for programming language design.

Seminar goals and tasks

The goal of this seminar is to introduce bachelor students to the excitement of computer science research by studying seminal works of the best minds in the field. Students will learn how to approach the specific field, how to read scientific papers, how to concisely explain complex algorithms, proofs, and models, and how to succinctly write a term paper on a computer science topic.

The various topics of the seminar can be advised by HPI researchers across all groups within HPI. Introductory classes on how to read, present, and write good papers will be given by Prof. Felix Naumann (and others?).

Each seminar participant will study and present the work that led to one of the awards and is expected to achieve the following:

  • A 15 minute presentation of the topic, including (i) the award winner(s), (ii) the research achievements, and (iii) the impact of that research
  • An A2 poster outlining the same content as the presentation
  • Active participation during all plenary meetings
  • A 4-page paper explaining the most important result

Presentations, poster, and paper can be given in English or German. All four components will be graded separately, to form the final non-weighted average grade. You will receive 3 credits (Leistungspunkte) for this seminar. The topics will be distributed among the students based on a Doodle, to be published here during the first week of the semester.


YearRecipientsCitationAdvisorStudentPresentation date
1966 Alan J. PerlisFor his influence in the area of advanced computer programming techniques and compiler construction   
1967 Maurice WilkesProfessor Wilkes is best known as the builder and designer of the EDSAC, the first computer with an internally stored program.   
1968 Richard HammingFor his work on numerical methods, automatic coding systems, and error-detecting and error-correcting codes   
1969 Marvin MinskyFor his central role in creating, shaping, promoting, and advancing the field of artificial intelligence.   
1970 James H. WilkinsonFor his research in numerical analysis to facilitate the use of the high-speed digital computer, having received special recognition for his work in computations in linear algebra and "backward" error analysis   
1971 John McCarthyMcCarthy's lecture "The Present State of Research on Artificial Intelligence" is a topic that covers the area in which he has achieved considerable recognition for his work   
1972 Edsger W. DijkstraAs a principal contributor to the development of the ALGOL, a high level programming language which has become a model of clarity and mathematical rigor. He is one of the principal proponents of the science and art of programming languages in general.   
1973 Charles W. BachmanFor his outstanding contributions to database technology   
1974 Donald E. KnuthFor his major contributions to the analysis of algorithms and the design of programming languages, and in particular for his contributions to "The Art of Computer Programming" through his well-known books in a continuous series by this title   
1977 John BackusFor profound, influential, and lasting contributions to the design of practical high-level programming systems, notably through his work on FORTRAN, and for seminal publication of formal procedures for the specification of programming languages   
1978 Robert W. FloydFor having a clear influence on methodologies for the creation of efficient and reliable software, and for helping to found the following important subfields of computer science: the theory of parsing, the semantics of programming languages, automatic program verification, automatic program synthesis, and analysis of algorithms   
1979 Kenneth E. IversonFor his pioneering effort in programming languages and mathematical notation resulting in what the computing field now knows as APL, for his contributions to the implementation of interactive systems, to educational uses of APL, and to programming language theory and practice   
1980 Tony HoareFor his fundamental contributions to the definition and design of programming languages   
1981 Edgar F. CoddFor his fundamental and continuing contributions to the theory and practice of database management systems, especially relational databases   
1982 Stephen A. CookFor his advancement of our understanding of the complexity of computation in a significant and profound way   
1983 Ken Thompson and Dennis M. RitchieFor their development of generic operating systems theory and specifically for the implementation of the UNIX operating system   
1984 Niklaus WirthFor developing a sequence of innovative computer languages, EULER, ALGOL-W, MODULA and Pascal   
1985 Richard M. KarpFor his continuing contributions to the theory of algorithms including the development of efficient algorithms for network flow and other combinatorial optimization problems, the identification of polynomial-time computability with the intuitive notion of algorithmic efficiency, and, most notably, contributions to the theory of NP-completeness   
1986 John Hopcroft and Robert TarjanFor fundamental achievements in the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures   
1987 John CockeFor significant contributions in the design and theory of compilers, the architecture of large systems and the development of reduced instruction set computers (RISC)   
1988 Ivan SutherlandFor his pioneering and visionary contributions to computer graphics, starting with Sketchpad, and continuing after   
1989 William KahanFor his fundamental contributions to numerical analysis. One of the foremost experts on floating-point computations. Kahan has dedicated himself to "making the world safe for numerical computations."   
1990 Fernando J. CorbatóFor his pioneering work organizing the concepts and leading the development of the general-purpose, large-scale, time-sharing and resource-sharing computer systems, CTSS and Multics.   
1991 Robin MilnerFor three distinct and complete achievements: 1) LCF, the mechanization of Scott's Logic of Computable Functions, probably the first theoretically based yet practical tool for machine assisted proof construction; 2) ML, the first language to include polymorphic type inference together with atype-safe exception-handling mechanism; 3) CCS, a general theory of concurrency.   
1992 Butler W. LampsonFor contributions to the development of distributed, personal computing environments and the technology for their implementation: workstations,networks, operating systems, programming systems, displays, security and document publishing.   
1993 Juris Hartmanis and Richard E. StearnsIn recognition of their seminal paper which established the foundations for the field of computational complexity theory   
1994 Edward Feigenbaum and Raj ReddyFor pioneering the design and construction of large scale artificial intelligence systems, demonstrating the practical importance and potential commercial impact of artificial intelligence technology   
1995 Manuel BlumIn recognition of his contributions to the foundations of computational complexity theory and its application to cryptography and program checking.   
1996 Amir PnueliFor seminal work introducing temporal logic into computing science and for outstanding contributions to program and systems verification.   
1997 Douglas EngelbartFor an inspiring vision of the future of interactive computing and the invention of key technologies to help realize this vision.   
1998 Jim GrayFor seminal contributions to database and transaction processing research and technical leadership in system implementation.   
1999 Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.For landmark contributions to computer architecture, operating systems, and software engineering.   
2000 Andrew Chi-Chih YaoIn recognition of his fundamental contributions to the theory of computation, including the complexity-based theory of pseudorandom number generation, cryptography, and communication complexity.   
2001 Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen NygaardFor ideas fundamental to the emergence of object-oriented programming, through their design of the programming languages Simula I and Simula 67.   
2002 Ronald L. Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard M. AdlemanFor their ingenious contribution for making public-key cryptography useful in practice.   
2003 Alan KayFor pioneering many of the ideas at the root of contemporary object-oriented programming languages, leading the team that developed Smalltalk, and for fundamental contributions to personal computing.   
2004 Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. KahnFor pioneering work on internetworking, including the design and implementation of the Internet's basic communications protocols, TCP/IP, and for inspired leadership in networking.   
2005 Peter NaurFor fundamental contributions to programming language design and the definition of ALGOL 60, to compiler design, and to the art and practice of computer programming.   
2006 Frances E. AllenFor pioneering contributions to the theory and practice of optimizing compiler techniques that laid the foundation for modern optimizing compilers and automatic parallel execution.   
2007 Edmund M. Clarke, E. Allen Emerson and Joseph SifakisFor their roles in developing model checking into a highly effective verification technology, widely adopted in the hardware and software industries   
2008 Barbara LiskovFor contributions to practical and theoretical foundations of programming language and system design, especially related to data abstraction, fault tolerance, and distributed computing.   
2009 Charles P. ThackerFor his pioneering design and realization of the Xerox Alto, the first modern personal computer, and in addition for his contributions to the Ethernet and the Tablet PC.   
2010 Leslie G. ValiantFor transformative contributions to the theory of computation, including the theory of probably approximately correct (PAC) learning, the complexity of enumeration and of algebraic computation, and the theory of parallel and distributed computing.   
2011 Judea PearlFor fundamental contributions to artificial intelligence through the development of a calculus for probabilistic and causal reasoning   
2012 Silvio Micali and Shafi GoldwasserFor transformative work that laid the complexity-theoretic foundations for the science of cryptography and in the process pioneered new methods for efficient verification of mathematical proofs in complexity theory   
2013 Leslie LamportFor fundamental contributions to the theory and practice of distributed and concurrent systems, notably the invention of concepts such as causality and logical clocks, safety and liveness, replicated state machines, and sequential consistency   
2014 Michael StonebrakerFor fundamental contributions to the concepts and practices underlying modern database systems