Standing on the Shoulders of a Giant

One Persons Experience of Turings Impact (Summary of the Alan M. Turing Lecture)
  • David Harel
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7392)


A quote attributed to Isaac Newton says “If I have seen a little further it’s because I stand on the shoulders of giants”. This was indeed stated by Newton, but the general metaphor of a dwarf standing on a giant goes back many, many years earlier. I would recommend the wonderful 1965 book by Robert K. Merton, referred to fondly as OTSOG (on the shoulders of giants) [1] .


Turing Machine Computable Function Grand Challenge Recursive Structure Turing Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Merton, R.K.: On The Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript. Free Press (1965)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Turing, A.M.: On Computable Numbers with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem. Proc. London Math. Soc. 42, 230–265 (1936); Corrections appeared in: ibid 43, 544–546 (1937)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rice, H.G.: Classes of recursively enumerable sets and their decision problems. Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 74, 358–366 (1953)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Harel, D.: Computers Ltd.: What They Really Can’t Do. Oxford University Press (2000); Revised paperback edition, 2003. Special Turing Centennial printing (2012)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chandra, A.K., Harel, D.: Computable Queries for Relational Data Bases. J. Comput. System Sciences 21, 156–178 (1980); Also, Proc. ACM 11th Symp. on Theory of Computing, Atlanta, Georgia, pp. 309–318 (April 1979)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chandra, A.K., Harel, D.: Structure and Complexity of Relational Queries. J. Comput. System Sci. 25, 99–128 (1982); Also, Proc. 21st IEEE Symp. on Foundations of Computer Science, Syracuse, New York (October 1980)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hirst, T., Harel, D.: Completeness Results for Recursive Databases. J. Comput. System Sci. 52(3), 522–536 (1996); Also, Proc. 12th ACM Symp. on Principles of Database Systems, pp. 244–252. ACM Press, New York (1993)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Harel, D.: Towards a Theory of Recursive Structures. In: Enjalbert, P., Mayr, E.W., Wagner, K.W. (eds.) STACS 1994. LNCS, vol. 775, pp. 633–645. Springer, Heidelberg (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Harel, D.: Effective Transformations on Infinite Trees, with Applications to High Undecidability, Dominoes and Fairness. J. Assoc. Comput. Mach. 33, 224–248 (1986)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Harel, D.: Recurring Dominoes: Making the Highly Undecidable Highly Understandable. Ann. Disc. Math. 24, 51–72 (1985); Also, Karpinski, M. (ed.) FCT 1983. LNCS, vol. 158, pp. 177–194. Springer, Heidelberg (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Harel, D.: How Hard is it to Reason About Propositional Programs? In: Broy, M. (ed.) Program Design Calculi. NATO ASI Series, vol. F-118, pp. 165–184. Springer, Berlin (1993)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Harel, D.: Hamiltonian Paths in Infinite Graphs. Israel J. Math. 76(3), 317–336 (1991); Also, Proc. 23rd ACM Symp. on Theory of Computing, New Orleans, pp. 220–229 (1991)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hirst, T., Harel, D.: Taking it to the Limit: On Infinite Variants of NP-Complete Problems. J. Comput. System Sci. 53(2), 180–193 (1996); Also, Proc. 8th IEEE Structure in Complexity Theory, pp. 292–304. IEEE Press, New York (1993)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Turing, A.M.: Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind 59, 433–460 (1950)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Setty, Y., Cohen, I.R., Dor, Y., Harel, D.: Four-Dimensional Realistic Modeling of Pancreatic Organogenesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 105(51), 20374–20379 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Setty, Y., Cohen, I.R., Harel, D.: Executable Modeling of Morphogenesis: A Turing-Inspired Approach. Fundamenta Informaticae (in press)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fisher, J., Harel, D., Henzinger, T.A.: Biology as Reactivity. Comm. Assoc. Comput. Mach. 54(10), 72–82 (2011)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Turing, A.M.: The chemical basis of morphogenesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 327, 37–72 (1952)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Harel, D.: A Grand Challenge for Computing: Full Reactive Modeling of a Multi-Cellular Animal. Bulletin of the EATCS, European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (81), 226–235 (2003); Early version prepared for the UK Workshop on Grand Challenges in Computing Research (November 2002), Reprinted in: Paun, Rozenberg, Salomaa (eds.) Current Trends in Theoretical Computer Science: The Challenge of the New Century, Algorithms and Complexity, vol. I, pp. 559–568. World Scientific (2004)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Harel, D.: A Turing-Like Test for Biological Modeling. Nature Biotechnology 23, 495–496 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Harel
    • 1
  1. 1.The Weizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

Personalised recommendations