2017 Covey Award: Professor Raymond Turner

The International Association for Computing and Philosophy’s Covey Award recognizes senior scholars with a substantial record of innovative research in the field of computing and philosophy broadly conceived.

IACAP’s Executive Board is delighted to announce that Professor Raymond Turner will be presented with the Covey Award at IACAP 2017, June 26-28, Stanford University, where he will present the Covey Award Keynote Address.

Professor Turner is Professor Emeritus of Logic and Computation in the School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Essex, where he has served since 1985. Holding doctorates in Mathematical Logic and Theoretical Computer Science (Queen Mary College, London, 1973) and Philosophy (Bedford College, London, 1981). Professor Turner has also been a Sloan Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (1982) and CSLI, Stanford University (1984). He was Visiting Professor and Research Fellow at the University of Texas-Austin (1984 and 1987) and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (1984 and 1986). Currently he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Logic and Computation and, for the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, as Editor of Logic and Computation.

Professor Turner’s work in Theoretical Computing Science and the Philosophy of Computer Science has been field-defining and ground-breaking. His books include Computable Models (Springer 2010), Constructive Foundations for Functional Languages (McGraw Hill 1991), Truth and Modality for Knowledge Representation (MIT Press 1990), and Logics for Artificial Intelligence (Pitman, 1984). His publications include “A Theory of Properties”, (Journal of Symbolic Logic, 1987), “The Foundations of Specification” (Journal of Logic and Computation, 2005), “Type Inference for Set Theory” (Theoretical Computer Science, 2001), “Specification”, (Minds and Machines, 2011), “Programming Languages as Technical Artefacts”, (Philosophy and Technology, 2014), “Logics of Truth” (Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, 1990), and “The Philosophy of Computer Science”, (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2013).

As Professor Turner describes his research,

The philosophy of computer science is concerned with those philosophical issues that arise from within the academic discipline of computer science. It is intended to be the philosophical endeavour that stands to computer science as philosophy of mathematics does to mathematics and philosophy of technology does to technology. Indeed, the abstract nature of computer science, coupled with its technological ambitions, ensures that many of the conceptual questions that arise in the philosophies of mathematics and technology have computational analogues. In addition, the subject will draw in variants of some of the central questions in the philosophies of mind, language and science.

In contrast, I take the central task of Theoretical Computing Science to be the construction of mathematical models of computational phenomena. Such models provide us with a deeper understanding of the nature of computation and representation. For example, the early work on computability theory provided a mathematical model of computation itself. Turing’s work is of fundamental importance here. Adapting Gödel’s diagonalization argument, he demonstrated that there are problems that do not admit of an algorithmic solution. He thus provided a mathematical model of computation that displayed its limitations. Later work on the semantics of programming languages enabled a precise articulation of the underlying differences between programming languages and led to a clearer understanding of the distinction between semantic representation and implementation. Early work in complexity theory supplied us with abstract notions which formally articulated informal ideas about the resources used during computation. I take this model building endeavour to be the central and fundamental role of theoretical computer science.

Please join us at IACAP 2017, June 26-28, Stanford University to congratulate Professor Turner on this well-deserved award.



Don Berkich
IACAP President