Leslie G. Valiant of Harvard University won the 2010 Turing Award for his contributions to the world of computing. These five notable members of the ACM also received the Turing Award for various contributions from 1969 to 1988. Their individual contributions laid the foundations for computer systems as they are known today and allow for further research and innovations.

The Turing award is named for British mathematician Alan M. Turing. It also grants the recipient a US$250,000 prize with financial support provided by Google and Intel. The award is presented at the annual ACM awards banquet in June.

Marvin Minsky – 1969

“Old Man Minsky” founded the MIT artificial intelligence lab, and he pioneered the field of building computer programs that learn and evolve.

He holds a BA in Mathematics from Harvard (1950) and a Ph.D. in the same field from Princeton (1954). He has been on the MIT faculty since 1958. He was the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of electrical engineering and computer science, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when he won the Turing Award according to the ACM’s website.

He patented the first head-mounted graphical display (1963), the confocal scanning microscope (a predecessor to today’s widely used confocal laser scanning microscope), and, along with Seymour Papert, the first Logo “turtle.” Minsky also built, in 1951, the first randomly wired neural network-learning machine, SNARC, according to the ACM.

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Edsger Dijkstra – 1972

This Dutch scientist, who died in 2002, won a Turing for his work in the creation of the ALGOL programming language.

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