# Alan turing

Alan Mathison [math-uh-suh n] /ˈmæθ ə sən/ (Show IPA), 1912–54, English mathematician, logician, and pioneer in computer theory.

Contemporary *Examples*

alan turing proposed the test in 1950, predicting that computers would beat the humans at being human by the year 2000.

The Week’s Best Journalism The Daily Beast February 16, 2011

The government should be asking the relatives of alan turing to pardon them for treating him so appallingly!

Charles Dance on Tywin Lannister’s S5 Return, A ‘Game of Thrones’ Movie,’ and Sexy Peter Dinklage Marlow Stern November 17, 2014

The Turing test is named for computer scientist, mathematician, logician, and philosopher alan turing.

The AI That Wasn’t: Why ‘Eugene Goostman’ Didn’t Pass the Turing Test Elizabeth Lopatto June 9, 2014

alan turing, who was born 100 years ago on June 23, 1912, might not have invented the computer.

Alan Turing’s Brother: He Should Be Alive Today John Ferrier Turing June 22, 2012

The famous Turing Test was introduced by alan turing to answer the question of whether machines can think.

Can Robots Fall in Love, and Why Would They? Jimmy So December 30, 2013

Historical *Examples*

That work was led by my personal all-time hero, a guy named alan turing, who pretty much invented computers as we know them today.

Little Brother Cory Doctorow

**noun**

Alan Mathison. 1912–54, English mathematician, who was responsible for formal description of abstract automata, and speculation on computer imitation of humans: a leader of the Allied codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War II

Turing

(tr’ĭng)

British mathematician who in 1937 formulated a precise mathematical concept for a theoretical computing machine, a key step in the development of the first computer. After the war he designed computers for the British government and helped in developing the concept of artificial intelligence.

Our Living Language : Alan Turing—father of computer science, codebreaker, cognitive scientist, theoretician in artificial intelligence—achieved fame in 1936 at the age of 24 with a paper in which he showed that no universal algorithm exists that can determine whether a proposition in a given mathematical system is true or false. In the process of his proof he invented what has been called the Turing machine, an imaginary idealized computer that can compute any calculable mathematical function. The essentials of this machine (an input/output device, a memory, and a central processing unit) formed the basis for the design of all digital computers. After World War II broke out, he worked in England as a cryptanalyst, where he put his extraordinary talents to work on breaking the famous Enigma code used by the German military. By 1940, Turing was instrumental in designing a machine that broke the German code, allowing the Allies to secretly decipher intercepted German messages for the rest of the war. At war’s end, Turing was hired to help develop the world’s first electronic computer and ultimately designed the programming system of the Ferranti Mark 1, the first commercially available digital computer, in 1948. His guiding principle that the brain is simply a computer was an important founding assumption for the new fields of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. He was making advances in modeling the chemical mechanisms by which genes control the structural development of organisms when he suddenly died, just before his forty-second birthday.

person

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 “Gödel, Escher, Bach”.

(http://AlanTuring.net/).

(2001-10-09)

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