Alan Turing

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Alan Turing

Alan M. Turing, 1912-06-22/3? - 1954-06-07. A British mathematician, inventor of the Turing Machine. Turing also proposed the Turing test. Turing's work was fundamental in the theoretical foundations of computer science.

Turing was a student and fellow of King's College Cambridge and was a graduate student at Princeton University from 1936 to 1938. While at Princeton Turing published "On Computable Numbers", a paper in which he conceived an abstract machine, now called a Turing Machine.

Turing returned to England in 1938 and during World War II, he worked in the British Foreign Office. He masterminded operations at Bletchley Park, UK which were highly successful in cracking the Nazis "Enigma" codes during World War II. Some of his early advances in computer design were inspired by the need to perform many repetitive symbolic manipulations quickly. Before the building of the Colossus computer this work was done by a roomful of women.

In 1945 he joined the National Physical Laboratory in London and worked on the design and construction of a large computer, named Automatic Computing Engine (ACE). In 1949 Turing became deputy director of the Computing Laboratory at Manchester where the Manchester Automatic Digital Machine, the worlds largest memory computer, was being built.

He also worked on theories of artificial intelligence, and on the application of mathematical theory to biological forms. In 1952 he published the first part of his theoretical study of morphogenesis, the development of pattern and form in living organisms.

Turing was gay, and died rather young under mysterious circumstances. He was arrested for violation of British homosexuality statutes in 1952. He died of potassium cyanide poisoning while conducting electrolysis experiments. An inquest concluded that it was self-administered but it is now thought by some to have been an accident.

There is an excellent biography of Turing by Andrew Hodges, subtitled "The Enigma of Intelligence" and a play based on it called "Breaking the Code". There was also a popular summary of his work in Douglas Hofstadter's book "G?del, Escher, Bach".
References in periodicals archive ?
Alan Turing made a crucial contribution to the cryptanalytic success of GCHQ's forerunner, the Government Code and Cypher School, at Bletchley Park during World War II.
THE TRUE STORY of British mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a tragic one.
as Al' Gwydion Rhys gave a towering performance as Alan Turing and the portrayal is someone who would now be regarded as an autistic person and respected as such.
The important question to me is, 'Did the filmmakers do Alan Turing justice?
The Alan Turing Institute will attract the best data scientists and mathematicians from the UK and across the globe to break new boundaries in how we use big data in a fast moving, competitive world.
We call upon Her Majesty's government to begin a discussion about the possibility of pardoning all the men, alive or deceased, who like Alan Turing were convicted.
Cumberbatch played gay genius Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.
Prince William yesterday refused to back a campaign to pardon tens of thousands of gay men convicted along with codebreaker Alan Turing.
Nevertheless, we wanted to highlight and emphasise the contributions of Donald Michie and Alan Turing on the one side, and our achievements in the fields of information society, computing, and informatics on the other side.
My favourite read-of-the-week Alan Turing: The Enigma, Andrew Hodges, ISBN 9781784700089 (Vintage) BD5 for Gulf Weekly Book Club membersThis is the official story that has inspired the British film which should be on at cinemas in Bahrain soon, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley; a nail-biting race against time following Alan Turing the pioneer of modern-day computing and credited with cracking the German Enigma code and his brilliant team at Britain's top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of the Second World War.
Rating THE IMITATION GAME ALAN Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) sits in a police interrogation room with Detective Nock (Rory Kinnear), facing a charge of indecency with a 19-year-old unemployed man called Arnold Murray.