# Difference between revisions of "Alan Turing"

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In his 1950 paper "[[Computing]] Machinery and Intelligence" (Mind 49: 433-460) Turing proposed a test (apparently heavily influenced by [[Logical Positivism]]) for establishing whether a computer could think (see [[artificial intelligence]]). | In his 1950 paper "[[Computing]] Machinery and Intelligence" (Mind 49: 433-460) Turing proposed a test (apparently heavily influenced by [[Logical Positivism]]) for establishing whether a computer could think (see [[artificial intelligence]]). | ||

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==References== | ==References== | ||

## Revision as of 08:06, 11 September 2009

**Alan Turing** (1912 - 1954) was a British mathematician who contributed to modern computer science and cryptography.^{[1]}

## The Turing Machine

In the 1930s Turing proposed the concept of a "Universal Turing Machine". Turing had, first, proposed that the operations needed to calculate any formula could be broken down into a base set of instructions (or primitive recursive functions) that could in principle be followed by a machine: the "Turing Machine". Once fully formalized the calculations needed to derive the instructions themselves were capable of being run by a Turing Machine. The looped logic allowed the conception of a Turing Machine that could create its own instruction and, in principle, run a huge variety of calculations. Turing then used the concept of Universal Turing Machine to prove the undecidability of the halting problem.

## Code breaking

During World War II Turing was assigned to the codebreaking unit at Bletchley Park, where he worked on the decoding of the German's Enigma machine. Turing and his colleagues played a significant role in the Allied victory in WW2, allowing Allied forces access to German communication networks throughout much of the war.

## Artificial intelligence

In his 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" (Mind 49: 433-460) Turing proposed a test (apparently heavily influenced by Logical Positivism) for establishing whether a computer could think (see artificial intelligence).

## References

Online biography: http://www.turing.org.uk/bio/

Computing Machinery and Intelligence: http://cogprints.org/499/00/turing.html

*Oddballs and Eccentrics*. Shaw, Karl. Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 2004.