June 23, 2012

Today Is The 100-Year Anniversary of The Birth of Alan Turing

Alan Turing, R.I.P.

"Alan Turing - (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954), was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which played a significant role in the creation of the modern computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence."
Alan Turing, Father of Computer Science - Eduardo Galeano

Aangirfan: Alan Turing And The Deep State

BBC - Alan Turing: Inquest's suicide verdict 'not supportable' by Roland Pease:
Alan Turing, the British mathematical genius and codebreaker born 100 years ago on 23 June, may not have committed suicide, as is widely believed.

At a conference in Oxford on Saturday, Turing expert Prof Jack Copeland will question the evidence that was presented at the 1954 inquest.

He believes the evidence would not today be accepted as sufficient to establish a suicide verdict.
Indeed, he argues, Turing's death may equally probably have been an accident.

What is well known and accepted is that Alan Turing died of cyanide poisoning.
But Jack Copeland argues the evidence should be taken at face value - that an accidental death is certainly consistent with all the currently known circumstances.

The problem, he complains, is that the investigation was conducted so poorly that even murder cannot be ruled out. An "open verdict", recognising this degree of ignorance, would be his preferred position.

None of this excuses the treatment of Turing during his final years, says Prof Copeland.

"Turing was hounded," he told the BBC, adding: "Yet he remained cheerful and humorous."
"The thing is to tell the truth in so far as we know it, and not to speculate.

"In a way we have in modern times been recreating the narrative of Turing's life, and we have recreated him as an unhappy young man who committed suicide. But the evidence is not there.

"The exact circumstances of Turing's death will probably always be unclear," Prof Copeland concludes.

"Perhaps we should just shrug our shoulders, and focus on Turing's life and extraordinary work."