July 6, 2022
Alan Mathison Turing (born 23 June 1912 in London, died 7 June 1954) was a British long-distance runner, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, computer scientist and mathematical biologist. He had a doctorate in mathematics. He has made significant contributions in the field of computer science and laid the foundation for a formalization of the concept of algorithm and data processing, with the concept of a touring machine, which is a model for a general computer. Turing is considered the founder of theoretical computer technology and artificial intelligence. During World War II, Turing worked at Government Communications Headquarters at Bletchley Park, the British center for cryptanalysis. For a time he was commander of Hut 8, the unit tasked with cracking down on German naval encryption. He suggested a number of techniques for cracking German encryption. Among other things, he proposed significant improvements to the decoding machine "bomba kryptologiczna", which was invented in Poland even before the war. With this, the Poles could more quickly look for keys to the German coding machine Enigma as it was used before June 1940. Turing's solution was to construct a more general electromechanical machine that could more quickly find code keys for enigma messages. The work of cracking encrypted messages contributed to the Allies' victory in a number of decisive battles. It has been suggested that Turing's work at Blechtley Park may have shortened the war in Europe by two to four years. After the war, Turing worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the ACE, one of the first examples of a software-controlled computer. In 1948 he started at Max Newman's Computing Laboratory at the University of Manchester, where he participated in the development of Manchester computers. Turing also became interested in mathematical biology. He wrote an article on the chemical basis of morphogenesis and predicted oscillating chemical reactions. In 1952, homosexuality was still a criminal offense in Britain, and Turing was accused of violating homosexuality laws. He had to accept treatment with estrogen injections (chemical castration) as an alternative to imprisonment. Turing died of hydrocyanic acid poisoning in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday. An investigation concluded that he had committed suicide. His mother and Professor Jack Copeland thought it could be an accident. In 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a public apology on behalf of the British government for "the terrible way he was treated". Queen Elizabeth granted posthumous pardon in 2013. Early life and family Turing was born in Paddington, London, while his father Julius Mathison Turing (1873–1947) was off duty in the British Civil Administration in India. Turing's father was the son of a priest from a Scottish merchant family. Turing's mother, Ethel Sara, (1881–1976), was the daughter of Edward Waller Stoney, chief engineer at Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway. The Stoney family was a Protestant, Anglo-Irish noble family from the county of Tipparary and the county of Longford. Ethel had spent much of her childhood in County Clare. His father's work at ICS brought the family to British India, where Turing's grandfather was a general in the Bengali army. However, the parents wanted the children to grow up in England and therefore moved to Maida Vale. Turing had an older brother, and in the parents' absence the brothers lived with a retired couple. In Hastings, the family lived in Baston Lodge, Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards-on-Sea. The house is marked with a memorial plaque. Already as a child, Turing showed extraordinary abilities. His parents bought a house in Guildford in 1927 and Turing lived there during the school holidays. Here too you will find a blue plaque.