Alan Turing Prize no enigma for Tom

13 March 2015

Tom Levy

Tom Levy

He's one of the biggest names in Mathematics and Computer Science, and since 1991 has had a university prize named after him.

The Alan Turing Prize is awarded annually to the University of Waikato student who has performed best in a third-year programme of studies that includes at least two 300 level papers in Computer Science and at least two 300 level papers in Mathematics.

In 2014, the $300 prize was awarded to Tom Levy.

"Alan Turing established everything we can do today in terms of computational power," says Tom. "He created the subject with his work, which was really impressive. I look up to him and what he did so it's an honour to be awarded this prize."

Encouraging and inspiring students

The prize was established at the University in 1991 by the then Foundation Dean Associate Professor John Turner, and first awarded in 1992. It was established to encourage students to develop strong joint interests in Computer Science and Mathematics, with Alan Turing's considerable achievements providing an inspiration to them.

Tom moved with his family from Israel to New Zealand in 2003. The 21-year-old is now in his Honours year of a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science.

"I'm doing my Honours research into lambda calculus, which was invented by Alonzo Church who was Alan Turing's doctoral supervisor, so the prize has quite a significance for me."

The Father of Computer Science

Known as the Father of Computer Science, Alan Turing (1912-1954) was an English mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst who made fundamental contributions to Mathematics and Computer Science. Turing is most famous for the work he carried out during World War II in breaking German Enigma code messages with his electro-mechanical rotor cipher machine. He worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre and the recent movie The Imitation Game tells his story.

In 2014, Tom also won the Hilbert Prize for Mathematics and a Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences Dean's Award for Excellence. He has recently finished a three-month internship with Google in Sydney working on their latest mobile phone services.

The Alan Turing Prize is one of many offered by the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. To find out more, visit

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