Three youngsters win in Turing code competition

Science and Technology Ministry’s competition marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, the “father of the computer.”

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November 25, 2012 22:46
1 minute read.
ALAN TURING

ALAN TURING 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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A 15-year-old, a nine-year-old and an 18-year-old have won the Science and Technology Ministry’s competition to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, the British “father of the computer.”

The three winners managed to find the longest computer codes about Turing in a code written by scientists at Tel Aviv University. On Thursday they were each awarded a computer tablet by Science and Technology Minister Prof. Daniel Herschkowitz.

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The code was hidden in 500 million binary digits prepared by Prof. Nahum Dershowitz and Prof. Lior Wolf.

More than 30,000 youngsters viewed the website, and 350 entered the competition.

The first prize was won by Itai Naor, 15, of Pardes Hanna, who located a 31- digit computer code. He studies advanced physics and computer sciences at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and is also taking math courses at the Open University.

Second-prize winner Almog Vlad, 9, of Petah Tikva found a 30-digit code. He studies in a class for gifted children and blogs about his experiences.

Third place was taken by Adar Zeitek, 18, of Rehovot, who found a 29-digit code.

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He started his studies for a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computers as part of the IDF’s educational program at Tel Aviv University.

Herschkowitz, a well-known mathematician and an expert in computer codes, said the field is integral to the protection of cyberspace. Beyond the scientific and technological challenge of the competition, he said, the aim was to expose young people to Turing’s accomplishments.

Turing was a mathematical genius who set down the basis for computer sciences and was the first to deal with the question of whether machines can think. He is to computer sciences, philosophy and mathematics what Einstein and Darwin were to their fields, Herschkowitz said.

Turing also contributed greatly to the Allied victory in World War II by cracking the German’s “Enigma” code machine, but received no recognition during his lifetime.

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