Olympic Turing tribute

Professor Qiang Shen

Professor Qiang Shen

29 May 2012

A leading computer scientist has dedicated his leg of the Olympic Torch relay to the memory of the father of modern computing, Alan Turing.

Professor Qiang Shen, Head of the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University, carried the Olympic Torch through the outskirts of the town on Sunday 27 May, cheered on by colleagues, students and members of the public.

Shortly afterwards over 8000 people welcomed the Torch to the University’s Vicarage playing fields as it completed its journey from Swansea to Aberystwyth.

Speaking after his run, Professor Shen said: “2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth on Alan Turing, the founder of computer science and artificial intelligence and a figurehead for the code breaking efforts of WWII. It was a great honour to be selected to carry the Olympic Torch and to dedicate my participation in his memory.”

“Turing created one of the first designs for a stored-program computer and laid the foundations for the field of Artificial Intelligence. These achievements led to the computerised era we live in today, and prepared the way for the research we are working on here at Aberystwyth University. Above all, his work is an inspiration to future generations of scientists and engineers.”

“It was also a pleasure to have this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of colleagues and students at the Department and the University and with the local community," he added.

Professor Shen was one of four representatives from the University to take part in the Olympic Torch relay.

University Sports Centre staff member Bridget James was presented with the torch at the National Library of Wales as it departed Aberystwyth on Monday 28 May, whilst students Susanna Ditton from the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences and Shon Rowcliffe from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies took part on Sunday.