Alan Turing

Alan Turing was born in London on 23 June 1912. He was the son of Julius Mathius Turing and Ethel Sara Stoney, the youngest of three children, he was born to a distinguished family. His family background includes diplomats and engineers, three of which succeeded to the Royal Society. Alan turing was educated at Sherbourne school, from 1923 to 1931. After which he studied mathematics at Kings College, Cambridge, graduating in 1935 with a B. A.

He was elected a fellow of the college on the strength of his paper “On the Gaussian error function”, it won a Smiths prize for mathematics in 1936. Turing was brilliant and slightly headstrong, he iscovered the central limit theorem for himself, after it had been already discovered and proved. Later in 1936 he went to the United States of America to study at Princeton University for two years with Alonso Church. Turing worked on the theory of computation and in 1937, he presented the paper for which he was to become famous, to the London Mathematical Society.

The paper “On computable numbers with an pplication to the Entscheidungsproblem”, proved that a class of mathematical problems existed which could not be solved by automatic machines and introduced the concept of a theoretical “universal” computing machine (the Turing machine). Turing was awarded a Ph. D. degree for this paper by Princeton University. Alan Turing returned to Kings College in 1938 and when war broke out in 1939, he began work for the government code and cipher school at Bletchley Park. In 1946 Turing was awarded an O. B. E. or designing machines to break the German Enigma codes.

After the war Turing declined ffer of a lectureship at Cambridge, to join the mathematics division of the National Physics Laboratory at Teddington, where he began to design the general computer called the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE). In 1948 Turing was appointed reader in the theory of computation at the University of Manchester and made assistant director of Manchester Automatic Digital Machine Two years later Turing published a paper in “Mind” entitled “computing machinery and intelligence”.

In the paper Turing concluded that by his definition of thinking, it was possible to make intelligent machines. uring’s last years were spent working at home. In 1952 he published the “Chemical basis of morphogenesis”, it applied mathematical and mechanical theory to biology. Alan Turing died from self administered poisoning on 7 June 1954. Alan Turing’s place in history was earned by his theory of computation which he worked out in 1936 and 1937.


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