Alan Mathison Turing, OBE (June 23, 1912 – June 7, 1954) was an English mathematician, logician, and cryptographer.
Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science. Turing provided an influential formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, formulating the now widely accepted "Turing" version of the Church – Turing thesis, namely that any practical computing model has either the equivalent or a subset of the capabilities of a Turing machine. With the Turing test, he made a significant and characteristically provocative contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence: whether it will ever be possible to say that a machine is conscious and can think. He later worked at the National Physical Laboratory, creating one of the first designs for a stored-program computer, although it was never actually built. In 1947 he moved to the University of Manchester to work, largely on software, on the Manchester Mark I, then emerging as one of the world's earliest true computers.
During the Second World War, Turing worked at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre, and was for a time head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.
Turing's papers include Computing machinery and intelligence, and On Computable Numbers with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem (PDF).
- Alan Turing's Wikipedia page
- AlanTuring.net Turing Archive for the History of Computing
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
- Alan Turing site maintained by Andrew Hodges
Alan Turing Quotes
Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.
We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.
A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.
No, I'm not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I'm after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.
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.
Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.
We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields.