Profile of Valentin Turchin for another, more up-to-date biographical sketch, by Ben Goertzel.)
Prof. Valentin Turchin is originally from the Soviet Union. He
holds three degrees in theoretical physics, in 1952, 1957, and
1963, and worked in neutron and solid state physics.
In the 1960's he turned his attention to mathematics and computer
science, accepting a position at the Moscow Institute of Applied
Mathematics. There he worked in statistical regularization
methods and authored REFAL, one the the first AI languages.
REFAL is a purely functional, pattern matching language with
simple semantics, in the same class as LISP and PROLOG. It is
currently the AI language of choice in the Soviet Union.
In the 1960's Dr. Turchin became politically active. In 1968 he
authored " Inertia of Fear and the Scientific Worldview", a
scathing critique of totalitarianism and an emerging cybernetic
social theory. Following its publication in the underground
press, he lost his research laboratory.
In 1970 he authored "The Phenomenon of Science", a grand
cybernetic meta-theory of universal evolution, which broadened
and deepened the earlier book. In 1977 it was published in
English by Columbia University Press, followed by "The Inertia of
Fear" in 1981.
By 1973 Dr. Turchin had founded the Moscow chapter of Amnesty
International and was working closely with Andrei Sakharov. In
1974 he lost his position at the Institute, and was persecuted by
the KGB. Facing almost certain imprisonment, he and his family
were expelled from the Soviet Union in 1977. He came to New York
and joined the Computer Science faculty of the City University of
New York in 1979, where he currently teaches and owns the company
Refal Systems Inc.
It is difficult to completely describe the scope of Dr. Turchin's
work. Philosphical unity is achieved through the concept of the
Meta-System Transition, in which higher levels of hierarchical
control emerge in system structure and function. Dr. Turchin uses
this concept to provide a global theory of evolution and a
coherent social systems theory, to develop a complete cybernetic
philosophical and ethical system, and to build constructivist
foundation of mathematics. Using the REFAL language he has
implemented a Supercompiler, a unified method for program
transformation and optimization using the meta-system transition
WORKS OF VALENTIN TURCHIN
Joslyn, Cliff, and Turchin, Valentin: (1990) "Introduction to the
Principia Cybernetic Project", to be published, available by
Turchin, Valentin: /Cybernetic Foundation of Mathematics/, to be
/Computation and Metacomputation in Refal/, available with
(1977) /Phenomenon of Science/, Columbia U., New York
Cybernetic theory of universal evolution. Metascience as a
(1981) /Inertia of Fear and Scientific Worldview/, Columbia U. Press,
Interpretation of totalitarianism from the persepctive of cybernetic
(1982) "Institutionalization of Values", /Worldview/, v. 11/82
Review of Turchin's social theory and defense of reviews of
_Phenomenon of Science_ and _Inertia of Fear_.
(1985) "Orlov in Exile", /Physics Today/, v. 7/8
(1986) "Concept of a Supercompiler", /ACM Trans. of Prog. Lang. and
Sys./, v. 8:3
(1987) "Constructive Interpretation of Full Set Theory", /J. of
Symbolic Logic/, v. 52:1
Almost complete reconstruction of ZF set theory from a constructivist
philosophy, including implementation in the REFAL language.
Turchin, Valentin, and Joslyn, Cliff: (1989) "Cybernetic Manifesto",