Interesting Alan Turing Facts

Here are some facts about Alan Turing.

  • Alan Turing was a logician, mathematician and computer scientist. He is generally known for his work in artificial intelligence and computer science.
  • Turing was born in London in 1912, and at school was able to solve complex problems without having been taught them.
  • Once he cycled almost 100 km from his home to school as the General Strike was on.
  • In 1936, he came up with the idea of a machine that was able to compute anything that could be computed. This was known as the Turing Machine and led to the modern computer.
  • During World War 2, Turing worked at Bletchley Park and was involved in breaking the German Enigma Machine codes.
  • Turing often ran 60 km to London for meetings, and he liked to chain his coffee mug to a radiator at Bletchley Park to stop other people using it.
  • During the late 1940s he worked in the University of Manchester in mathematics and computing. His experiment, the Turing test tried to devise an intelligence standard for technology.
  • In 1948 he wrote a chess programme for a computer that had yet to be invented. He also published several important papers on mathematical biology.
  • He worked on standards for machines to be called intelligent. The same principle is used today in online CAPTCHA tests, which determine whether a user is a person or a machine.
  • Turing committed suicide in 1954, by eating an apple containing cyanide. He was fascinated with the Disney cartoon version of Snow White which features a similar idea.
  • Alan Turing has been named as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. A Manchester road is named for him, as are many colleges, and there is an Alan Turing version of Monopoly.
  • There is a statue of Turing in Whitworth Gardens, Manchester. In 2012, the Olympic flame was passed from one person to another in front of the statue, on what would have been his 100th birthday.

What next? Discover some facts about other famous mathematicians.

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