Alan Turing Programme

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.

- Alan Turing

King’s College is celebrated for innovation, creative thinking, challenging the status quo and thinking differently, and few of the College’s alumni exemplify this more than Alan Turing.

From the papers he published at Cambridge which are now recognised as the foundation of computer science, through his vital cryptanalysis work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and cracking the German naval Enigma code, to his exploration of the idea of artificial intelligence, the importance of Turing and his impact on our world are hard to overestimate.

As well as a pioneering thinker, brilliant mathematician and cryptographer, Alan Turing was also a gay man who was appallingly treated as a result of his sexuality. In 1954, at the age of 41, Turing took his own life after being prosecuted for homosexual acts, still considered criminal in the UK at the time. Sixty years later, in 2013, he was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II; and in 2021 his pioneering work was recognised when the Bank of England featured him on the new £50 pound note.

King’s is hugely proud of its association with Alan Turing. In January 2024 a new 3.7 meters tall sculpture by Sir Antony Gormley was installed at the heart of the College, between the Gibbs Building and Webb’s Court. Titled True, for Alan Turing, it was commissioned by King’s as a visible recognition of Turing’s life and achievements.

The Alan Turing Programme, established by King's in 2017, brings together research and study in subject areas related to Turing’s work and life.

Building on Turing’s legacy it aims to support scholarship and discovery in the subjects related to Turing’s research and help create new ideas and technologies that will drive future change, much as Alan Turing did. The broad programme includes graduate scholarships and Research Fellowships, as well as a prestigious lecture series.


Alan Turing Studentships

Alan Turing studentships at King’s support the most promising scholars from around the world to study here in fields relating to computer science and its applications.

They fund exceptional students to do an MPhil in Advanced Computer Science. The first, in 2019-2020, was Maja Trebacz (KC 2019), now a Research Engineer at DeepMind; the most recent was Kwing Hei Li (KC 2022), whose MPhil project was around the development of mathematical models and tools to enable better reasoning about the correctness and safety of software systems.

The 2021-2022 Alan Turing Scholar was Andrew Georgiou (KC 2021). He did an MPhil in Advanced Computer Science – but it very nearly didn’t happen.

I was finishing my undergraduate degree in Liverpool and facing a difficult decision. Could I afford to turn down a corporate software engineering job and come to Cambridge? My family couldn’t help, much as they would love to. But I knew that my research area, in Natural Language Processing, has the potential to really make a difference. And I knew I wanted to go to a place that has driven innovation.

My long-term goal is being able to work in the area of speech recognition and voice dictation in order to enable people with disabilities to interact with technology in much the same way we can – this is an area particularly close to me as a family member lost most of his vision at an early age. The Turing legacy, all that King’s represents – that’s been really important to me.

Ceren Kocaogullar (KC 2020) was the Alan Turing Scholar in 2020-2021. She is now doing a PhD at King’s, in Distributed Systems Security.

I’m from Turkey, and it was my dream to study Computer Engineering at the best place in Europe. Without the funding I wouldn’t have been able to come to Cambridge and have this life-changing opportunity.

My MPhil was on privacy-preserving peer discovery in peer-to-peer networks, and my PhD is now taking my research work in that area, and how we establish trust in confidential communication and computation systems, further. Every walk around the College where Turing lived, taught, imagined and created is an inspiring journey, and I’m always motivated to strive to continue the legacy of this extraordinary thinker.


Turing Fellowships

Dr Api Hasthanasombat is the first holder of the Enactor-Turing Fellowship.

Supported by a donation from e-commerce platform provider Enactor, the full-time College Teaching Officer post adds to the College’s teaching strengths in Computer Science and builds further on Turing’s legacy.

Originally from Thailand, Api did an MPhil and PhD at King’s. His recent research interests have a particular focus on understanding and improving the robustness of neural network models, a significant issue given the increasing use of black-box models for safety-critical applications.

When I look back on my journey I always remember the people who have had a sizeable impact on my education, academically and beyond, and I hope I can pass that spirit on. This role allows me to continue pursuing my research interests, as well as teaching and getting involved in the admission of prospective students in Computer Science to King’s. Cambridge is an exciting place to be, as there is a growing ecosystem of people translating research into useful applications.


To find out more about supporting the Alan Turing Programme,  contact the Director of Development Lorraine Headen or Senior Development Officer Alice Bailey.



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