The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer


November 22, 2005


David Leavitt


University of Florida


In his talk, Professor Leavitt will focus on the philosophical, mathematical, and psychological underpinnings of Turing’s landmark work, in particular Turing’s proof of the insolubility of Hilbert’s “decision problem” (in the course of which he introduced the concept of the Turing machine) and the provocative essay on artificial intelligence in which Turing asked the famous question, “Can a machine think?” Professor Leavitt will also discuss Turing’s experiences as a homosexual man in pre- and post-War Britain and the mysterious circumstances of his suicide.


David Leavitt

David Leavitt is the author of several novels, including most recently The Body of Jonah Boyd, and story collections. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Institute of Catalan Letters in Barcelona Spain, Professor Leavitt was recently named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. He teaches creative writing at the University of Florida, Gainesville, where he lives.