Father of computer science and AI, ALAN TURING was born 23rd June 1912.
As I am particularly interested in partnerships and collaborations in Art, Science and Technology, it seems particularly appropriate to recall that TODAY, JUNE 23rd 2012, marks the centenary of the birth of this most remarkable man.
Most of us are probably not aware, as we type away on our PCs, that ALAN TURING was the man behind the “Turing Machine”, which could simulate the logic of computer algorithms, a process that lies at the heart of so many computation marvels that we use today and every day.
During the Second World War, at Britain's code-breaking centre in Bletchley Park, Alan Turing played a key role as head of the team that developed a method to break German ciphers. This device, known as the “Bombe”, was an electromechanical machine that could find settings for their Enigma machine, used for the encryption and decryption of secret messages between HQs and battlefield commanders. As head of the team in Hut 8, Alan Turing’s genius arguably saved many hundreds of thousands of lives and shortened this terrible conflict by up to two years.
To read more about this most remarkable man, here is the link to his (English) Wikipedia page :
But his end was very tragic. For he dared to have certain oh-so-human feelings that were not in tune with the mores of his day. Finally, Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death, aged only 41, by the nation he'd done so much to save.
Attempts have been made to right the terrible wrong that was done to him, and in one of his more noble acts as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown released a statement on 10 September 2009, apologising on behalf of the British Government for the “appalling” way Alan Turing had been treated.
In December 2011, an e-petition was created, requesting the current British Government to pardon Alan Turing for his conviction in 1952 of "gross-indecency", as Gay relations between men were then considered to be. But in spite of receiving well over 34 000 signatures, the British Ministry of Justice continues to decline the petition.
It can be seen and signed online here :
Alan Turing was cremated at Woking Crematorium on 12 June 1954. His Epitaph reads :
“Hyperboloids of wondrous Light
Rolling for aye through Space and Time
Harbour those Waves, which somehow Might
Play out God's holy pantomime.”