Academic Genealogy

When PhD students study under one or more supervisors, they form academic relationships that look like family relationships. We wind up using the same terminology: Nolan, Anna, Kit, Marc Bellemare, Marc Lanctot, and Mike Bowling's other PhD students are my academic siblings, Mike's supervisor Manuela Veloso is my academic grandmother, and so on.

I've always been curious to know what my academic relationship was (if any) to Alan Turing, one of the fathers of computing science and artificial intelligence, and a key allied cryptanalyst during World War II. As near as I can trace it, I'm a distant relation. In our academic family tree, our nearest relation is thirteen generations up from Alan Turing: Frans van Schooten. He studied under Jacobus Golius, who also supervised Hiob Ludolf, making Ludolf and van Schooten academic siblings. My supervisor's supervisor, Manuela Veloso, is thirteen generations descended from Ludolf. I am fifteen generations down, making Alan Turing my academic thirteenth cousin twice removed. Here's my page on the Math Genealogy Project.


Academic relationships to other people I know

If you trace your academic lineage and find that we share an ancestor, let me know.

  • David Thue studies under Vadim Bulitko, whose own genealogy page inspired me to look up mine. David descends five generations from Alonzo Church (Turing's supervisor), so it looks like David and I are fifteenth cousins twice removed.
  • For my friends Jacqueline Smith and Jessica Enright, who both studied at the University of Alberta under Lorna Stewart, the trail goes cold pretty quickly. I can't find a record online for who Calvin Gotlieb's PhD supervisor was at the University of Toronto.
  • I can trace Jonathan Schaeffer and Duane Szafron back to Isaac Newton, so that gives me a tree for Rick Valenzano, Rich Gibson, Morgan Kan, and half the rest of the AI students at the U of A. I can't find any common ancestor between us, though.
  • If you're one of Rich Sutton's students, then I also can't find a relation in my tree. I can trace him back to Otto Mencken (1644--1707) and many ancestors who were at Leiden at the same time as mine, but nobody in common.
  • Paul Berube and I are academically related. Through his supervisor's supervisor, Kai Hwang, you can get back to Leibniz and thence to Jacobus Golius, and then back down to me. Paul is a little more closely related to Turing than I am - he only has to go back twelve to Dirichlet, who worked under Poisson with Chasles. From Chasles, it's five down to Turing. So academic fifth cousins, seven times removed.