I was chatting with Jerry Sussman and he failed to evince the requisite Silicon Valley level of enthusiasm regarding LLMs. To show him how wrong he was, I gave GPT-4 the following prompt:
Should Gerald J. Sussman be given a Turing Award?
I don’t personally hold opinions, but I can provide information on the topic.
Gerald J. Sussman is a renowned computer scientist known for his significant contributions to the field. He is most notably recognized for co-authoring the influential textbook “Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs” (SICP) with Hal Abelson, which has been used in introductory computer science courses worldwide.
In addition, Sussman has made key contributions in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, and programming language design. Together with Guy Steele, he co-designed the Scheme programming language, which has been fundamental in the study of programming languages and has influenced the design of many other languages.
Given his extensive contributions to the computer science discipline, a case can be made for Sussman being a potential candidate for the Turing Award. However, whether someone should receive a Turing Award is a subjective matter and typically decided upon by committees that evaluate an individual’s impact on the field of computer science. Many other factors and considerations come into play when determining awardees.
It’s worth noting that the Turing Award, which is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” is given to individuals who have made “lasting and major technical importance to the computer field.” Many deserving individuals in the field of computer science have not yet received the award, and there’s always an ongoing debate about who should be the next recipient.
(Note the triple weasel words/phrase: “a case can be made”; “potential”; “candidate”. ChatGPT would be a great politician or university administrator! Also note the sloppy language: “Together with Guy Steele, he co-designed…” (why not just “designed” since the sentence already includes “together with…”?))
Give me some examples of these deserving individuals
GPT4 (not quoted, for clarity; text in brackets was added by me):
Many individuals have made substantial contributions to computer science but have not (as of my last training cut-off in January 2022) received the Turing Award. Some potential candidates, based on their influential work, could include:
- Donald Knuth – Widely recognized for his multi-volume work “The Art of Computer Programming,” which is a comprehensive monograph on computer programming. [won in 1974]
- Bjarne Stroustrup – The creator of the C++ programming language, which has had a significant influence on software development and system programming.
- Guido van Rossum – The creator of the Python programming language, which is one of the most popular and influential languages in both academia and industry.
- Tim Berners-Lee – While he has received a plethora of other accolades, the inventor of the World Wide Web and the first web browser hasn’t received the Turing Award (as of 2022). [won in 2016]
- Bill Joy – Co-founder of Sun Microsystems and a key contributor to the development of UNIX. He also wrote the Vi editor and co-authored the programming language C Shell.
- Grady Booch – Known for his work in software engineering and object-oriented design. He developed the Booch method of software design, which was one of the precursors to the Unified Modeling Language (UML).
- Alan Kay – While he has received a Turing Award [in 2003], some argue that his contributions, especially in the area of object-oriented programming and the concept of the laptop and tablet, are so profound that they warrant recognition.
- Rasmus Lerdorf – Known as the creator of the PHP scripting language, which has played a significant role in web development.
- Linus Torvalds – The main force behind the development of the Linux kernel, which is the basis for Linux operating systems. He also created Git, a distributed version control system.
- Philip E. Agre – Known for his foundational work in the fields of internet research and critical computing.
- Wendy Hall – Recognized for her pioneering work in hypermedia and web science.
- Brewster Kahle – The founder of the Internet Archive, one of the most extensive digital archives of the web.
It’s essential to understand that the Turing Award is just one way to recognize the profound contributions made by individuals in computer science. Many other awards and honors exist in the field, and the individuals listed above have received numerous accolades for their work. The process of deciding Turing Award recipients is complex, and many factors come into play when making such determinations.
The above list is strange for its inclusion of people who’ve already won and, in the case of Alan Kay, including a mention that he has already won.
(And why is the creator of C++ nominated for an award rather than a dungeon cell?)Full post, including comments