Wednesday, September 21, 2011


In addition to the Olympic rings, the Olympic Torch is one of the most well-known symbols of the Olympic Games. The torch commemorates the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, and each of the Games holds its own Torch Relay to transport the flame from Greece to the host country. Eight thousand “inspirational torchbearers” will carry the flame during the Olympic Torch Relay. However, one man is gunning to make it 7,999 torch-bearing people and one torch-bearing robot.

James Law, Computer Scientist at Aberystwyth University, is nominating the iCub robot to be one of the many torchbearers for London 2012.. The iCub was built to learn from real-world activities just like a toddler does.

The 100th anniversary of the birth of the founder of computer science, Alan Turing, happens to coincide with the Olympics, and having the iCub as one of the torchbearers would be a “fitting tribute to Alan Turing, and an inspiration to future generations of scientists and engineers,” Law said. According to Law, Turing was not only considered the father of modern computer science, he was also the ”figurehead for the code-breaking efforts of WWII.” He also created one of the first designs for a stored-program computer and helped lay the foundations for the field of artificial intelligence.

The flame will be lit in Greece and will arrive in the UK on May 18, 2012 to begin the 70-day journey that will culminate at the Opening Ceremonies on July 27. Eight thousand people (7,999 people and one robot if Law gets his way) will be chosen to carry the Olympic Flame during the Torch Relay with the goal that their inspirational stories will “have the power to inspire millions of people watching around the world.”

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