Happy Alan Turing Year!

2012 has been officially declared Alan Turing Year to celebrate Turing's contributions to the art of computer science, computing, artificial intelligence, developmental biology, and the mathematical theory of computability on the centenary of his birth. His Turing Machine, it can be said, helped launch the age of the algorithm within which we live. Turing also developed "the bombe" an electromechanical device used by British cryptologists to help decipher German Enigma-machine-encrypted signals during World War II.

Turing also developed the "Turing test" most famously portrayed in the film "Blade Runner" which asks,

I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?'~ Alan Turing

And from Turing's notes, a poem:

Hyperboloids of wondrous Light
Rolling for aye through Space and Time
Harbour those Waves which somehow Might
Play out God's holy pantomime
Happy New Year! (and don't worry, those Mayans have been wrong before)

johnnya's picture

Alan Turing was, perhaps, one of the premier mathematicians of the 20th century. In rhia regard, Michael's post was fine, as far as it went. We can not forget that Alan Turing was a homosexual who was prosecuted in Great Britain for his sexual orientation. As part of a plea bargain, Turing agreed to chemical castration by the government.  Finallly, it is well agreed that Turing committed suicide by eating a cyanide laced apple. Turing's treatment by his government can not be rationalized or otherwise excused. He was a haunted man, with a brilliance of the highest order.



Michael Lavorgna's picture

I was focusing on the positive side of Turing’s life and accomplishments but his persecution and death at 41 shed some light on another instance of our unfortunate history.

For those so inclined, there’s a petition to grant Turing a pardon, which you can sign here.

johnnya's picture


Thanks for posting access to petition to pardon Alan Turing. Unfortunately, to sign the petition, one must be either a regular resident or citizen of Great Britain. We can hope that  some good outcome will emerge from the petiton.

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