Turing festival brings Scottish tech sector together

THE largest tech sector conference in Scotland will open on Thursday with the aim of encouraging greater collaboration between businesses north of the border.

From left, Jamie Coleman of Codebase, John Peebles of Administate, Brian Corcoran of Turing festival and Hilary Roberts of Skyscanner. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Turing 2016 will see key figures from the Scottish, UK and international tech scenes descend on Central Hall in Edinburgh for a series of talks, seminars and networking events.

The festival, now in its fifth year, will welcome around 800 guests across two days - more than double the number that attended in 2015.

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Among those appearing at the sell-out event will be senior executives from the likes of travel search site Skyscanner, venture capital seed fund and start-up accelerator 500 Startups, food delivery service Deliveroo and the Government Digital Service.

Turing festival was first held in 2011 takes its name from the Turing Trust, an Edinburgh-based charity founded by relatives of Alan Turing – the Enigma code-breaker regarded as the father of modern computer science.

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“I think there’s an opportunity to turn Turing into something very substantial,” said director Brian Corcoran.

“If you look at the example of Web Summit in Dublin, it went from 400 attendees in 2010 to over 30,000 last year. It’s now estimated to be worth €106 million to the Irish economy.”

While the vast majority of attendees at Turning 2016 will be from Scotland, organisers hope to increase its international standing.

“One of the most important elements of building a tech economy is that everyone is connected,” added Corcoran.

“For example, we have the longest 40 miles in Europe between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Silicon Valley is a lot longer, and there’s lot more connectivity there.

“Turing can play a big role there in bringing everyone together. It’s making the whole eco system more than the sum of its parts.”