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Fascinating facts about Alan Turing
inventor of the Turing machine in 1940.
Alan Turing
Inventor: Alan Mathison Turing
Alan Turing photo courtesy University of California, Berkely
Criteria: Modern prototype.First practical.
Birth: June 23, 1912 in London, England
Death: June 7, 1954 in Wilmslow, Cheshire, England
Nationality: British

Alan Mathison Turing, British mathematician, who pioneered in computer theory.   He was born in London and educated at Cambridge and Princeton universities.   In 1936, while he was still a graduate student, Turing published a paper called "On Computable Numbers," which introduced the concept of a theoretical computing device now known as a Turing machine.  The concept of this machine, which could theoretically perform any mathematical calculation, was important in the development of the digital computer. Turing also extended his mathematical work to the study of artificial intelligence and biological forms.  He proposed a method called the Turing test, to determine whether machines could have the ability to think.  During World War II, Turing worked as a cryptographer for the British Foreign Office.   In 1951 Turing was named a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1952 he began to publish his work on the mathematical aspects of pattern and form development in living organisms.  He apparently committed suicide in 1954 , probably in reaction to medical treatments he was forced to receive in order to "cure" him of homosexuality.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
History of Computing  from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of the Computer
 
from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Alan Turing: The Enigma
by Andrew Hodges, Douglas Hofstadter (Preface) /
Paperback - 608 pages (2000)  / Walker & Co
A pure mathematician from a tradition that prided itself on its impracticality, Turing laid the foundations for modern computer science.
The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing
by Martin Davis / Hardcover: 256 pages / W.W. Norton & Company (October, 2000)
Computers are essentially engines of logic. Their hardware and software embody concepts developed over centuries by logicians such as Leibniz, Boole, and Godel, culminating in the amazing insights of Alan Turing.

Turing and the Computer (The Big Idea)
by Paul Strathern / Paperback - 105 pages (April 20, 1999) / Anchor Books

Few people in the history of computing are as intellectually and personally complex as Alan Turing, the man whose brilliant mathematical imagination laid the foundation for computers as we know them.

ON THE SCREEN:
The Creation of the Computer
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / 73090 / Less than $25.00
Trace the technological advancements that led to the first true modern "computers" and the rapid progress that saw computers shrink from room-sized monsters to the desktop units that are revolutionizing life in the '90s.


ON THE WEB:

Turing, Alan
Alan Turing: a biography by Andrew Hodges
(URL: www.turing.org.uk/bio/index.html)
Alan Turing (1912-1954)
In 1936 Turing published a seminal paper, "On Computable Numbers" , in which he conceived a remarkably simple, but powerful abstract device for performing all possible computations.
(URL: www.exploratorium.edu/complexity/CompLexicon/Turing.html)
Alan Turing
We need a simple, formal, sufficiently powerful model for computation.The standard model is the Turing machine. Modeling Algorithms.
(URL:: ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/Turing.html
)
The Alan Turing Internet Scrapbook
"BREAKING THE CODE"
by Hugh Whitemore, Alan Turing on Stage and Screen
(URL: www.turing.org.uk/turing/scrapbook/btc.html)
Pioneers of Computing

An extensive list of computer pioneers, provided by the Virtual Computer Museum.
(URL: vmoc.museophile.sbu.ac.uk/pioneers/)
Biography of Turing
Turing was a founding father of modern cognitive science and a leading early exponent of the hypothesis that the human brain is in large part a digital computing machine, theorising that the cortex at birth is an 'unorganised machine' which through 'training' becomes organised 'into a universal machine or something like it'. Article by Jack Copeland.
(URL: www.cs.usfca.edu/www.AlanTuring.net/turing_archive/index.html)

 

Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised on October 23, 2006.
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