Alan Turing

Alan Turing

Born 23 June 1912
Died 7 June 1954
Turing is best known for deciphering the Enigma code during World War II at Bletchley Park. He is also well known for developing the Turing Test - a test which is still used today in establishing whether a computer can be intelligent, i.e. whether it can think.
A brilliant mathematician, one of the remarkable things about Turing's work is that he was able to describe a modern computer before technology had reached the point where construction was a realistic proposition. His work on calculable numbers prompted him to develop an abstract machine, now called a Turing maching, which moved from one state to another using a precise finite set of rules (using a finite table) and depending on a single symbol it read from a tape. The Turing machine could write a symbol on the tape, or a delete a symbol from the tape. His ideas have proved fundamental to mathematics and computer science ever since they were published.

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