Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Royal Pardon for Alan Turing

From S. Barry Cooper, here is an official release with the details of the Royal Pardon for Alan Turing, embargoed until 00:01 this morning. Season greetings to all my readers.


By Jamie Grierson, Press Association Home Affairs Correspondent

Second World War code-breaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous
royal pardon for a 61-year-old conviction for homosexual activity. Dr
Turing, who was pivotal in breaking the Enigma code, arguably shortening
the Second World War by at least two years, was chemically castrated
following his conviction in 1952.

His conviction for "gross indecency" led to the removal of his security
clearance and meant he was no longer able to work for Government
Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) where he had continued to work
following service at Bletchley Park during the war.

Dr Turing, who died aged 41 in 1954 and is often described as the father
of modern computing, has been granted a pardon under the Royal Prerogative
of Mercy by the Queen following a request from Justice Secretary Chris
Grayling. "Dr Alan Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind,"
Mr Grayling said.

"His brilliance was put into practice at Bletchley Park during the Second
World War where he was pivotal to breaking the Enigma code, helping to end
the war and save thousands of lives.

"His later life was overshadowed by his conviction for homosexual
activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and
which has now been repealed.

"Dr Turing deserves to be remembered and recognised for his fantastic
contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science. A pardon from
the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man."

Dr Turing died of cyanide poisoning and an inquest recorded a verdict of
suicide, although his mother and others maintained his death was

There has been a long campaign to clear the mathematician's name,
including a well-supported e- petition and private member's bill, along
with support from leading scientists such as Sir Stephen Hawking.

The pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy will come into effect
today. The Justice Secretary has the power to ask the Queen to grant a
pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, for civilians convicted in
England and Wales.

A pardon is only normally granted when the person is innocent of the
offence and where a request has been made by someone with a vested
interest such as a family member. But on this occasion a pardon has been
issued without either requirement being met.

In September 2009, then-prime minister Gordon Brown apologised to Dr
Turing for prosecuting him as a homosexual after a petition calling for
such a move.

An e-petiton - titled "Grant a pardon to Alan Turing" - received 37,404
signatures when it closed in November last year. The request was declined
by Lord McNally on the grounds that Dr Turing was properly convicted of
what at the time was a criminal offence.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Job Ad: Dean of the School of Computer Science at Reykjavik University

The School of Computer Science at Reykjavik University, where I have been working for about nine years now, is looking for a new dean. I append the official job ad, which is being posted on several mailing lists, in the hope that highly-qualified computer scientists will be enticed to apply, despite the short deadline (January 9th, 2014). 

Interested people might want to have a look at the profile of the faculty within the school and at the research centres that it hosts.

Feel free to spread this ad as you see fit.

Dean of School of Computer Science

Reykjavik University seeks an ambitious leader to carry on the development of a growing School of Computer Science. The dean is responsible for administrative affairs as well as for leading the faculty's academic agenda. The dean reports to the Rector of Reykjavik University and is a member of the university‘s executive committee.

We seek candidates that have:

  • Strong strategic vision and the ability to shape and lead a team of faculty members and staff
  • Doctorate in computer science or related subjects
  • Academic teaching and research experience
  • Management, operations and leadership experience
  • Experience from industry or collaborations with industry
  • International experience
Reykjavik University‘s School of Computer Science provides education and research in computer science. The school offers BSc, MSc and PhD degrees and has a leading role in research.  External accreditation committee for doctorate studies claimed the school to be the strongest in Iceland and leading in research.  (PDF file)http://www.ru.is/media/td/SCS_accreditation.pdf   The school has about 900 enrolled students and nearly 30 faculty members.
For further information, please contact Ari Kristinn Jónsson, rector (ari@ru.is), tel: +354-599-6200.
Applications should be submitted before January 9th, 2014, through our applications website:  http://en.ru.is/the-university/open-positions/  or by e-mail at mannaudur@ru.is.
Supplements can be sent to: Reykjavik University, Menntavegur 1, 101 Reykjavík, labeled „Dean's position“. All applications are confidential.
The role of Reykjavik University is to create and disseminate knowledge to enhance the competitiveness and quality of life for individuals and society, guided by good ethics, sustainability and responsibility.
There are four schools within the university; School of Business, School of Computer Science, School of Law and School of Science and Engineering. Education and research at RU are based on strong ties with industry and society. We emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration, international relations and entrepreneurship. Reykjavik University currently has around 3400 students and 250 employees.