Sep 25, 2008

The Legend

Alan Turing (1912-1954) was at the center of two pivotal events of the 20th century – World War II and the invention of computers. At the age of 23, Turing made his mark on mathematics by solving an important problem in the foundations of mathematics that was posed by David Hilbert at the 1928 International Congress of Mathematicians. In this research he invented a theoretical machine, now called a Turing machine, which was the inspiration for modern digital computers. During World War II, Turing was in charge of the British effort to decipher secret German codes. His complete success in this endeavor played a decisive role in the Allies’ victory. To carry out the numerous logical steps required to break a coded message, Turing developed decision procedures similar to modern computer programs. After the war he helped develop the first electronic computers in Britain. He also did pioneering work on artificial intelligence and computer models of biological processes. At the age of 42, Turing died of cyanide poisoning under mysterious circumstances.

[texts from Precalculus 4e by Stewart/Redlin/Watson. picture from wiki]

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