- NAME: Alan Turing
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Mathematician
- BIRTH DATE: June 23, 1912
- DEATH DATE: June 07, 1954
- EDUCATION: King's College (University of Cambridge), Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, St. Michael's School, Princeton University, Sherborne School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: Wilmslow, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Alan Mathison Turing
- AKA: Alan Turing
Best Known For
Famed mathematician Alan Turing proved in his 1936 paper, "On Computable Numbers," that a universal algorithmic method of determining truth in math cannot exist.
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Alan Turing was born on June 23, 1912, in London. In his seminal 1936 paper, he proved that there cannot exist any universal algorithmic method of determining truth in mathematics, and that mathematics will always contain undecidable propositions. That paper also introduced the "Turing machine. His papers on the subject are widely acknowledged as the foundation of research in artificial intelligence.
"We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done."
"I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted."
"Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition."
"A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human."
English scientist Alan Turing was born Alan Mathison Turing on June 23, 1912, in Maida Vale, London, England. At a young age, he displayed signs of high intelligence, which some of his teachers recognized, but did not necessarily respect. When Turing attended the well-known independent Sherborne School at the age of 13, he became particularly interested in math and science.
After Sherborne, Turing enrolled at King's College (University of Cambridge) in Cambridge, England, studying there from 1931 to 1934. As a result of his dissertation, in which he proved the central limit theorem, Turing was elected a fellow at the school upon his graduation.
In 1936, Turing delivered a paper, "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem," in which he presented the notion of a universal machine (later called the “Universal Turing Machine," and then the "Turing machine") capable of computing anything that is computable: The central concept of the modern computer was based on Turing’s paper.
Over the next two years, Turing studied mathematics and cryptology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. After receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1938, he returned to Cambridge, and then took a part-time position with the Government Code and Cypher School, a British code-breaking organization.
During World War II, Turing was a leading participant in wartime code-breaking, particularly that of German ciphers. He worked at Bletchley Park, the GCCS wartime station, where he made five major advances in the field of cryptanalysis, including specifying the bombe, an electromechanical device used to help decipher German Enigma encrypted signals. Turing’s contributions to the code-breaking process didn’t stop there: He also wrote two papers about mathematical approaches to code-breaking, which became such important assets to the Code and Cypher School (later known as the Government Communications Headquarters) that the GCHQ waited until April 2012 to release them to the National Archives of the United Kingdom.
Turing moved to London in the mid-1940s, and began working for the National Physical Laboratory. Among his most notable contributions while working at the facility, Turing led the design work for the Automatic Computing Engine and ultimately created a groundbreaking blueprint for store-program computers. Though a complete version of the ACE was never built, its concept has been used as a model by tech corporations worldwide for several years, influencing the design of the English Electric DEUCE and the American Bendix G-15—credited by many in the tech industry as the world’s first personal computer—among other computer models.
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