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Alan Turing

Alan Turing

Facts about Alan Turing

Summary: Alan Turing was an English groundbreaking computer scientist. Often referred to as the father of theoretical computer science he was also a world leader in artificial intelligence.

During World War II, he worked for the Government Code and Cypher School where he would become most famous for being the person to break the code enabling the reading of the Enigma machine.

This meant that messages between the German forces were known to the British and many attacks were averted and many lives saved. Many historians believe breaking that code shortened the war by as little as two years and some say as many as four years, which is an enormous achievement and saved many thousands if not millions of lives.

Alan Turing Fact Sheet: Who was Alan Turing? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Alan Turing.

Alan Turing Fact File: Lifespan: 1912 1954 *** Full Name: Alan Mathison Turing *** Occupation: Computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, mathematical biologist *** Date of Birth: He was born on June 23rd 1912 *** Place of Birth: He was born in Paddington, London, England *** Family background: His father was Julius Turing and his mother was Ethel Stoney. Both of his parents had strong ties to India. He was briefly engaged but never married or had children *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Maida Vale, London before moving to Hastings where he lived with his brother in care of a retired army couple while their parents were in India *** Education: He began his education at St Michael’s Day School and then Sherborne School. From a young age teachers could see he was gifted. He would further his education at Kings College, Cambridge. ***

Alan Turing Fact 1: He was born during the 20th century, a time of great change in the world in science, innovation, two world wars, nationalism and decolonization.

Alan Turing Fact 2: When he finished university with a first class honors in mathematics he began work on computability at King’s College, Cambridge as a fellow having proved the central limit theorem in his dissertation.

Alan Turing Fact 3: Unbeknownst to him Alonzo Church was working along similar lines using his own lambda calculus.

Alan Turing Fact 4: Alonzo Church was an American mathematician and logician.

Alan Turing Fact 5: Between 1936 and 1938 he would be studying under Church at Princeton University at would also study cryptology.

Alan Turing Fact 6: While studying with Church he built three of the four stages of an electromechanical binary multiplier.

Alan Turing Fact 7: In June of that year he was awarded his PhD from Princeton.

Alan Turing Fact 8: In 1939 he made his return to Cambridge and would attend lectures given by Ludwig Wittgenstein on the topic of foundations of mathematics.

Alan Turing Fact 9: At the same time he had begun working for the Government Code and Cypher School.

Alan Turing Fact 10: When World War II broke out he took a leading role in deciphering the German ciphers out of Bletchley Park.

Alan Turing Fact 11: A wartime and historical codebreaker at time said “You needed exceptional talent, you needed genius at Bletchley and Turing’s was that genius.”

Alan Turing Fact 12: He began to concentrate more and more on the cryptanalysis of the Enigma together with Dilly Knox, a senior GC&CS codebreaker.

Alan Turing Fact 13: After the Warsaw meeting in 1939 he developed several techniques to enable German cyphers to be broken. These included advances to the pre-war Polish bombe method.

Alan Turing Fact 14: During his time at Bletchley he would acquire quite the reputation for being an eccentric.

Alan Turing Fact 15: He was awarded an OBE by King George VI in 1945 for his services in war time.

Alan Turing Fact 16: He made the adjustments to the bombe, an eletromechanical machine that was able to find the settings to read the enigma machine.

Alan Turing Fact 17: He then decided to try and solve the problem of the German naval Enigma as no other party was looking at this and he would be able to work solo.

Alan Turing Fact 18: By December 1939 he had successfully solved the crucial element of the naval indicator system, which had proved far more complicated than systems used by various other services.

Alan Turing Fact 19: Post war he began work for the National Physical Laboratory where he developed the Automatic Computing Engine.

Alan Turing Fact 20: On June 7th of 1954, at the age of 41, he was dead in his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire in England. He was cremated at the Woking Crematorium and as his father’s had been, so where his ashes scattered there.

Influence & Legacy: He will be recognized as one of the leading figures in computer science. While having developed major breakthroughs in the area of cryptanalysis, especially specifying the bombe, a device used to assist in deciphering German Enigma encrypted signals, he also wrote several papers on the subject of mathematical methods to code breaking. These papers become so vital to government use that they were not released for public consumption until 2012. After the war, his contribution to computer building came by way of his development of the Automatic Computing Engine which led to the design of store-program computers which has led to the availability and wide use of the home computer in modern households.

He was most famous for developing computer science, forming the conceptualization of algorithms and computations using the Turing machine and also being the founder of computer science and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Important Events of the 20th century and during the life of Alan Turing include:
The First World War, the formation of the Royal Air Force, Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin and the Wall Street Crash in America causes the Great Depression

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