Two Dozen Turing Award Laureates Including Vint Cerf Endorse Joe Biden

Two dozen Turing Award laureates including Father of the Internet, and former ICANN Chair from 2000 to 2007, Vint Cerf have endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for President of the United States and Senator Kamala Harris for Vice President. As the letter notes, it’s the first time Turing Award Laureates have endorsed a candidate.

The 24 Turing Award signatories, “including senior scientists at Google, Facebook and Microsoft,” who signed in their individual capacities, wrote:

Information technology is thoroughly globalised. Academic computer science departments attract talented students, many of whom immigrate and become American inventors and captains of industry. We celebrate open source projects, the lifeblood of our field, as exemplars of international collaboration. Computer Science is at its best when its learnings and discoveries are shared freely in the spirit of progress. These core values helped make America a leader in information technology, so vital in this Information Age.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris listen to experts before setting public policy, essential when science and technology may help with many problems facing our nation today. As American computer scientists and as US citizens, we enthusiastically endorse Joe Biden for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President.

From the open letter endorsing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

“All 35 American Turing winners were invited to join the endorsement. Some did not respond because of poor health, and some declined to participate, at least in part because they did not want to pull their employers — whether companies or universities — into a politically charged situation,” David Patterson, a Google distinguished engineer and former professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told the New York Times.

“The Biden campaign said it was ‘honoured’ to have the support of the computer scientists. The Trump campaign did not return a request for comment,” according to the Times.

The letter follows another in 2016 from 150 of America’s top inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, researchers, and business leaders working in the technology sector who “concluded Trump would be a disaster for innovation”. The signatories to that letter included Cerf, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, as well as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Ev Williams, the co-founder of Twitter. The letter went on to say “America’s diversity is our strength” and “that progressive immigration policies help us attract and retain some of the brightest minds on earth.”

“We also believe in the free and open exchange of ideas, including over the Internet, as a seed from which innovation springs. Donald Trump proposes ‘shutting down’ parts of the Internet as a security strategy — demonstrating both poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works. His penchant to censor extends to revoking press credentials and threatening to punish media platforms that criticise him.”

The A.M. Turing Award, sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” was named in honour of Alan Mathison Turing (1912–1954), a British mathematician and computer scientist, according to the award’s website. He made fundamental advances in computer architecture, algorithms, formalisation of computing, and artificial intelligence. Turing was also instrumental in British code-breaking work during World War II.

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