Alan Turing: The Father of Modern Computer Science

Alan Turing was absolutely one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th century. Born in London in 1912, Turing showed early signs of genius. His aptitude in mathematics and science were at odds with the British education systems focus on classical literature and his teachers insisted that he wouldn’t amount to anything.

He could solve complex mathematical equations and he fully understood relativistic physics without study. Turing became an undergraduate at Kings College at Cambridge and in 1936 wrote a paper proving a computer could make any mathematical calculation if it were written as an algorithm. This concept is known as a Turing Machine, a universally compatible  computer that could perform the tasks of any other computer and compute anything that was computable. After studying cryptology at Princeton and Cambridge, he began working for the crpytology department in the British government at the onset of war with Germany. His first assignment was to complete a project started on Polish research, a device called Bombe, which was used to eavesdrop on the German Luftwaffe. Next, he began working on deciphering encrypted German Navy Enigma code. The sequential statistical technique he devised, called Banburism, broke the German code and was a key development in the turning point of World War 2.

After the war, Turing began work on a stored  program computer and theorizing about Artificial Intelligence. The Turing Test suggests that if an interrogator were unable to tell if he where having a conversation with a machine, then the machine was intelligent. Turing was revealed to be a homosexual in 1952. He was arrested, stripped of his security clearance and under went forced chemical castration. The government he had served and protected had dehumanized and disavowed him. He committed suicide in 1954.



One response to “Alan Turing: The Father of Modern Computer Science

  1. This post provides a useful introduction to Turing’s genius as well as to horrible treatment he received. Have you ever taken a Turing Test? I haven’t but people I know who have tell me that they were unable to determine if the conversation was with a person or machine.

    In terms of formatting, I’d appreciate if you could find any places to split this in to paragraphs. Such long passages are difficult for me to read on a computer monitor.

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