آیا میتوان روزی گفت: «ماشین هوشیار است و میتواند فکر کند؟»
او سپس در آزمایشگاه ملی فیزیک در بریتانیای کبیر مشغول به کار شد، و یکی از طرحهای اولیه برنامه ذخیره شده کامپیوتر را ارائه کرد، هرچند که در واقع ساخته نشد. در ۱۹۴۸ به دانشگاه منچستر رفت تا روی «منچستر مارک ۱» کار کند، که به عنوان اولین کامپیوتر حقیقی دنیا شناخته شد.
پدر تورینگ، ژولیوس ماتیسون تورینگ، عضو مأمورین شهری هند بود. ژولیوس و همسرش سارا (۱۹۷۶–۱۸۸۱، دختر ادوارد والتر ستونی، مهندس ارشد راهآهنمَدرَس) میخواستند فرزندشان آلن در انگلستان بزرگ شود، به همین دلیل به لندن بزرگ بازگشتند، جایی که آلن تورینگ در ۲۳ ژون ۱۹۱۲ به دنیا آمد، امروزه به عنوان هتل کولونید شناخته میشود. او یک برادر بزرگتر به نام جان داشت. در طول دوران کودکی تورینگ والدین او بین انگلیس و هند در سفر بودند و فرزندان خود را نزد دوستان خود در انگلیس میگذاشتند.
از همان اوان کودکی علائم نبوغ در وی هویدا بود. والدینش او رادر سن شش سالگی در مدرسهٔ روزانهٔ سنت مایکل ثبت نام کردند. مدیر مدرسه و معلمین او بسیار زود به نبوغ وی پی بردند. در ۱۹۲۶، در ۱۴ سالگی، او به مدرسهٔ شربورن در دورست رفت. روز اول او در ترم جدید با «اعتصاب عمومی» در انگلستان همزمان شد، اما او چنان مصمم بود که در اولین روز حضور داشته باشد که به تنهایی ۹۷ کیلومتر (۶۰ مایل) از ساوتهمتون تا مدرسه را با دوچرخه طی کرد و شب رادر یک مسافرخانه به سر برد.
تمایل ذاتی تورینگ به سمت ریاضی و علم برای او احترامی نزد برخی استادان شربورن که مدرسهای معروف و پرهزینهٔ دولتی بود کسب نکرد، چراکه تأکید بیشتر آنها روی مسایل و مباحث کلاسیک بود. مدیر مدرسه برای والدین تورینگ نوشت: «امیدوارم او بین دو مدرسه افت نکند. اگر میخواهد در یک مدرسهٔ دولتی بماند، باید تلاش کند که فردی تحصیل کرده شود و اگر میخواهد صرفاً یک دانشمند شود، وقت خود را در یک مدرسهٔ دولتی تلف میکند.»
با این حال، تورینگ توانایی خود را در زمینههای مورد علاقهٔ خود به نمایش میگذاشت، با حل مسایل پیچیده در ۱۹۲۷ بدون اینکه حتی حساب دیفرانسیل مقدماتی خوانده باشد.
در ۱۹۲۸، در ۱۶ سالگی تورینگ با کار آلبرت اینشتین مواجه شد، نه تنها آن را بهطور کامل فهمید بلکه شک اَینشتَین در قانونهای حرکت نیوتن را از روی متنی که هرگز این موضوع را آشکار نکرده بود، پیشبینی کرد.
امیدها و تلاشهای تورینگ با دوستی نزدیکی که با دانشجوی بزرگتر، کریستوفر مورکوم، ایجاد کرد افزایش یافت. مورکوم ناگهان چند هفته پس از آغاز آخرین ترم در شربورن، به دلیل سل گاوی از دنیا رفت. ایمان مذهبی تورینگ از بین رفت. او پذیرفت که هر پدیدهای شامل کار مغز انسان باید مادی باشد.
این فیلم توانست عنوان «بهترین فیلم به انتخاب مردم» در جشنواره فیلم تورنتو را به دست آورد. مورتن تیلدام در پیامی به دست آوردن این جایزه را «افتخاری شگفتآور» توصیف کرد. بازی تقلید با استقبال بسیار خوب منتقدان و تماشاگران رو به رو شد و به عنوان یکی از بهترین فیلمهای سال ۲۰۱۴ شناخته شد. گفتنی است این اثر در هشتاد و هفتمین دوره جوایز اسکار نیز در هشت رشته نامزد شد که در نهایت تنها موفق شد جایزه اسکار بهترین فیلمنامه اقتباسی را برای گراهام مور به ارمغان بیاورد.
تمایل و تلاش تورینگ در ریاضیات و علوم کامپیوتر باعث شد نسبت به کار کلاسیک دانشگاه کم توجهی کند و در نتیجه موفق به دریافت بورسیهٔ تحصیلی ترینیتی کالج، کمبریج نشود، و به دانشگاه دیگری که انتخاب دومش بود کینگس کالج، کمبریج برود. او در سالهای ۱۹۳۱–۱۹۳۴ درآنجا مشغول به تحصیل بود و در سال ۱۹۳۵ به خاطر مقالهٔ خود در رابطه با قضیهٔ محدودیت مرکزی به عنوان عضو آنجا انتخاب شد.
در مقالهٔ به یاد ماندنی «دربارهٔ اعداد شمارا، با استفاده از انسکیدانس پرابلم» (۲۸ می۱۹۳۶) تورینگ فرمول بندیهای سال ۱۹۳۱ کرت گودل را دربارهٔ محدودیتهای اثبات و محاسبات تجدید کرد و زبان ریاضی محور گودل را با چیزی که امروزه ماشین تورینگ نامیده میشود جایگزین کرد. او ثابت کرد که چنین ماشینی میتواند هر مسئلهٔ ریاضی ممکن که میشود به صورت الگوریتم بیان شود را حل کرد، حتی اگر هیچ ماشین تورینگ واقعی به دلیل سرعت کم آن نسبت به جایگزینهای مناسب آن کاربرد عملی نداشته باشد.
تا امروز ماشینهای تورینگ موضوع اصلی تحقیقات در تئوری محاسبات بودهاند. او برای اثبات این که «انسکیدانس پرابلم» هیچ حلی ندارد، ابتدا نشان داد که هالتینگ پرابلم برای ماشین تورینگ قابل حل نیست: مشخص نیست که ماشین تورینگ در چه زمانی متوقف میشود.
به دلیل انتشار اثبات او پس از اثبات معادل آلونزو چرچ در جبر لاندا، کار او قابل درک و پذیرفتنی است. همچنین مفهوم «ماشین جامع (تورینگ)» و این ایده که چنین ماشینی میتواند کار هر ماشین دیگر را انجام دهد، کاملاً بدیع است. این مقاله همچنین اعداد تعریفپذیر را نیز معرفی میکند.
بیشتر سالهای ۱۹۳۸ و ۱۹۳۷ را در دانشگاه پرینستون، با مطالعه تحت نظر آلونزو چرچ گذراند و موفق شد دکترای خود را در سال ۱۹۳۸ از دانشگاه پرینستون دریافت کند: تز او دربارهٔ محاسبه نسبی بود که ماشینهای تورینگ را به ماشین اوراکل میافزود، که میتوان به کمک آن مسایلی را بررسی کرد که ماشین تورینگ نمیتواند بررسی کند. با بازگشت به کمبریج در سال ۱۹۳۹، او در سخنرانیهای لودویگ ویتگنشتاین دربارهٔ اساس ریاضیات شرکت کرد. جایی که این دو با یکدیگر بحث و مخالفت میکردند و تورینگ از ظاهرگرایی دفاع میکرد و ویتگنشتاین معتقد بود که ریاضیات هیچ حقیقت مطلقی را کشف نمیکند.
در هفتههای ورود به بلچلی پارک، تورینگ ماشینی الکترو مکانیکی طراحی کرده بود که میتوانست انیگما را سریع تر از بامبای سال ۱۹۳۲ کد شکنی کند. به دلیل ساخت لهستانی الاصل آن بامبا، بامب نامگذاری شده.
بامب با بهسازی که توسط گوردون ولچمن صورت گرفت، تبدیل به یکی از وسایل اصلی و بهطور عمده مکانیزهٔ هجوم به پیامهای توسط انیگما محافظت شدهٔ آلمانها گردید جک گود، رمزشکنی که در آن زمان در بلچلی پارک مشغول به کار بود، بعدها گفت:
بزرگترین سهم تورینگ، به عقیدهٔ من، نقش او در ساخت بامب بود، ماشین رمز شکن. او ایدهای قابل استفاده داشت، در واقع قضیهای در منطق که به نظر افراد تعلیم ندیده بیشتر پوچ است، اینکه از تناقض، میتوان هر چیزی را نتیجه گرفت.
بامب دنبال تنظیمات احتمالاً درستی میگشت که در یک پیام انیگما میتوانست به کار رودو از یک کریب مناسب استفاده میکرد: بخشی از یک کد احتمالی پیام اولیه. برای هر تنظیم احتمالی روتور (که حالاتی در مرتبهٔ ۱۹ داشت، یا مرتبهٔ ۲۲ برای زیر دریاییها که در نهایت چهار روتور داشت، در مقایسه با انیگمای معمولی که سه روتور داشت). بامب بر اساس کریب، یک سری استقراهای منطقی بکار میبرد که به صورت الکتریکی انجام میشد. بامب هنگامی که تناقض رخ میداد آشکار میکرد، آن تنظیم را حذف میکرد و سراغ بعدی میرفت، اغلب تنظیمات به تناقض میرسید و حذف میشد، که تعداد معدودی را برای بررسی دقیق تر باقی میگذاشت.
بامب تورینگ برای اولین با در ۱۸ مارس ۱۹۴۰ نصب شد. بیشتر از دویست بامب تا پایان جنگ جهانی مورد استفاده قرار گرفتند.
در دسامبر ۱۹۴۰، تورینگ سیستم نشانگر انیگمای نیروی دریایی را کشف کرد، که از نظر ریاضیات بسیار پیچیدهتر از انیگمای سایر نیروها بود.
تورینگ همچنین تکنیک محاسباتی «بانبوریسموس» را نیز ابداع کرد که برای کمک به کدشکنی انیگمای نیروی دریایی کاربرد داشت. بانبوریسموس روتورهای خاصی از انیگما را حذف میکرد تا سرعت بامب را افزایش دهد.
در بهار ۱۹۴۱ تورینگ از همکار خود درهات ۸ جوان کلارک خواستگاری کرد، با این حال قرار ازدواج آنها با توافق طرفین در تابستان شکسته شد.
در ژوئیه ۱۹۴۲تورینگ تکنیک جدیدی را با نام تورینگگری یا تورینگگسموس برای کدشکنی کد لورنز که در ماشین رمز جدید آلمانها «گهمشریبر (نویسندهٔ پنهان)» به کار برده میشد، ابداع کرد.
او همچنین گروه «فیش (ماهی)» را به تامی فلاورز معرفی کرد، که زیر نظر ماکس نیومن به دنبال ساخت کامپیوتر کلوسوس، اولین کامپیوتر دیجیتال قابل برنامهریزی جهان رفت، که جایگزین ماشینهای سادهتر گذشته (شامل هیت رابینسون) گردید، که سرعت عالی آن اجازه میداد که تکنیک «بروت-فورس» کدهایی که روزانه تغییر میکردند را بررسی کند.
تصور غلط رایج است که تورینگ یکی از کلیدهای اصلی ساخت کامپیوتر کلوسوس بوده، که اینگونه نیست.
تورینگ در نوامبر ۱۹۴۲ به ایالات متحده رفت و با انیگمای نیروی دریایی و تحلیل رمز نیروی دریایی آمریکا و ساخت بامب در واشینگتن کار کرد. او همچنین به «آزمایشگاه بل» در ساخت وسایل امن صحبت، کمک کرد. او در مارس ۱۹۴۳ به بلچلی پارک بازگشت. در غیاب او «هاف الکساندر» ریاست هات ۸ را به عهده گرفته بود، با توجه به علاقهٔ کم تورینگ برای پیگیری مسائل روزانهٔ مرکز، او به عنوان مشاور مشغول به کار شد.
در اواخر جنگ در حالی که الکترونیک میآموخت، به کمک مهندس «دونالد بیلی»، طراحی ماشین «دلایلا» را برای برقراری تماسهای مطمئن انجام داد، که برای کارهای مختلفی تولید شده بود، اما عدم توانایی برقراری مکالمات دوربرد، و تکمیل دیرهنگام آن باعث شد تا در جنگ مورد استفاده قرار نگیرد. علیرغم اینکه تورینگ قسمتی از سخنرانی چرچیل را رسماً کدگذاری و کدگشایی کرد، دستگاه مورد استفاده قرار نگرفت.
سه مقالهٔ قابل ملاحظه که در سه زمینهٔ مختلف ریاضی قبل از جنگ نوشته شده، کیفیت کاری را که اگر او در زمان بحرانی بر روی یک موضوع مشخص انجام میداد، بیان میکند. برای کارش در سازمان خارجه، نشان امپراتوری بریتانیا را دریافت کرد.
از ۱۹۴۵ تا ۱۹۴۷ او در آزمایشگاه ملی فیزیک کار میکرد، و بر روی طراحی موتور محاسبهٔ خودکار کار میکرد. او در ۱۹ فوریه ۱۹۴۶ مقالهای ارائه کرد که اولین طرح کامپیوتر برنامهدار در انگلستان بود. با وجود موفقیت وی در این طرح، در شروع پروژه تأخیر بهوجود آمد و او علاقهٔ خود را برای ادامهٔ کار از دست داد.
در اواخر ۱۹۴۷ به کمبریج بازگشت. در زمانی که او در کمبریج بود، پروژهٔ سابقش در غیاب او کامل شد و اولین برنامهٔ خود را در ۱۰ می ۱۹۵۰ اجرا کرد.
در ۱۹۴۸او با دپارتمان ریاضی و آزمایشگاه محاسبات دانشگاه منچستر همکاری کرد و روی نرمافزار یکی از اولین کامپیوترهای جهان «منچستر مارک ۱» کارکرد.
دراین زمان او کارهای تجریدی (ابسترکت) را ادامه داد و مسئلهٔ هوش مصنوعی و آزمونی را که امروزه آزمون تورینگ نامیده میشود برای اسناد تفکر به ماشینها در سال ۱۹۵۰ در مقالهای مطرح نمود. تورینگ مقالهاش را با این سؤال شروع میکند که «آیا ماشینها میتوانند فکر کنند؟». او میگوید که برای پاسخ دادن به این سؤال باید اول تعریف مشخصی از تفکر و ماشین داشتیم. ماشین در این مقاله یعنی تحقق فیزیکی ماشینهای محاسباتی خودکار (چیزهای شبیه رایانههای رقمی امروزی). تورینگ میگوید صحبت از تعریف تفکر کاری عبث است و بنابراین پیشنهاد میدهد سؤال اصلی مقاله یعنی «آیا ماشینها میتوانند فکر کنند؟» با سؤال دیگری جایگزین شود: «آیا ماشینها میتوانند از بازی تقلید سربلند بیرون آیند؟»
بازی تقلید بازیای است که با سه شرکتکننده انجام میشود: یک مرد، یک زن و نفر سومی که میتواند مرد یا زن باشد و تورینگ از او به عنوان بازجو یاد میکند.
خصوصیات فیزیکی مرد و زن شرکتکننده از دسترس باز جو پنهان است و او تنها میتواند پرسشهایی را از آنها بپرسد و پاسخ آنها را دریافت کند. البته بین دو شرکتکننده دیگر هم تفکیک برقرار است و آنها از سوالات و جوابهای بازجو با دیگری خبر ندارند. هدف بازی برای بازجو تشخیص جنسیت دو شرکتکننده است. یکی از شرکت کنندگان (مثلاً زن شرکتکننده) سعی میکند او را در این مورد به اشتباه بیندازد (یعنی وانمود کند که مرد است) و شرکتکننده دیگر سعی دارد به بازجو در این تشخیص کمک کند. این میشود بازی تقلید.
حالا پیشنهاد تورینگ این است که اگر شرکتکنندهای که میخواهد بازجو را فریب دهد با یک رایانهٔ رقمی جایگزین شود و وظیفهاش را به گونهای انجام دهد که بازجو (به اشتباه) به او جنسیت فرد دیگر را نسبت دهد این رایانه از بازی تقلید سربلند بیرون میآید و اسناد هوشمندی به آن موجه است. البته در ادبیات فلسفی امروز مسئله از صرف تقلید جنسیت مخالف دیگر شرکتکننده به تقلید انسان بودن مبدل شدهاست. بهطور خلاصه گفته میشود مطابق آزمون تورینگ برای اسناد هوشمندی اگر بازجوی انسانی نتواند دست رایانهای را که با آن در مکالمه است رو کند و به اشتباه تشخیص دهد که این ماشین انسان است باید گفت این ماشین هوشمند است. تورینگ حدس زدهاست که در فاصلهای حدود ۵۰ سال یعنی ابتدای هزاره جدید ماشینهایی پیدا شوند که آزمون تورینگ را با موفقیت پشت سر بگذارند.
در ۱۹۴۸ تورینگ به همراه «دی جی چمپرنون» شروع به نوشتن برنامهٔ شطرنج کرد که تا آن زمان وجود نداشت. در ۱۹۵۲، به دلیل نبود کامپیوتری به اندازهٔ کافی قوی تورینگ کامپیوتر را شبیهسازی کرد، که برای هر حرکت نیم ساعت زمان نیاز داشت. برنامه در مقابل «الیک گلنی» همکار تورینگ شکست خورد، اما گفته میشود که در مقابل همسر چمپرنون موفق بود.
تورینگ از سال ۱۹۵۲ تا زمان مرگش در سال ۱۹۵۴ روی زیستشناسی ریاضیاتی کار کرد، به ویژه مورفوجنسیس. او در ۱۹۵۲ یک مقاله با موضوع «اساس شیمیایی مورفوجنسیس»منتشر کرد. علاقه اصلی او فهمیدن «الگوی فیبوناچی» بود، وجود اعداد فیبوناچی در ساختار گیاهان. او «معادلات عکس العمل-انتشار» را به کار برد که امروزه موضوع اصلی فرم الگو است. مقالات بعدی وی تا سال ۱۹۹۲ چاپ نشد.
در سال ۱۹۵۲ به صورت اتفاقی همجنسگرایی وی کشف شد. در آن سالها همجنسگرایی در بریتانیاجرم و بیماری روانی شناخته میشد. در دادگاه طبق قانون مخیر شد بین زندان و اختگی شیمیایی (Chemical castration) یکی را انتخاب کند؛ که وی دومی را انتخاب کرد. به دنبال این حادثه تمام تضمینهای حفاظتی که وی داشت لغو شد و از ادامهٔ کار وی بر روی پروژههای رمزنگاری ممانعت به عمل آمد. تزریق مواد شیمیایی برای یک سال ادامه یافت و عوارض جنبی بسیاری از جمله رویش پستانها برجای گذاشت. گفته میشود که این دورهٔ درمانی، در ابتلای آلن تورینگ به افسردگی شدید نیز مؤثر بود و همین مشکل روانی بود که سرانجام به خودکشی او در ژوئن سال ۱۹۵۴ منجر شد.
در ۸ ژوئن ۱۹۵۴ کارگر خانه جسد او را پیدا کرد؛ روز قبل او در اثر سم سیانید جان سپرده بود، ظاهراً به خاطر سیب نیم خوردهٔ سیانیدی که در کنار تختش بود. بسیاری بر این باورند که مرگ او عمدی بوده، اما مادر او اعتقاد داشت که مرگ او حادثهای بوده که به دلیل بیدقتیش در نگهداری از مواد شیمیایی رخ داده ست. کالبدشکافی علت مرگ را مسمومیت با سیانور یافت و پلیس مرگ را خودکشی اعلام کرد.
از سال ۱۹۶۶، جایزهٔ تورینگ بهصورت سالانه توسط انجمن دستگاه محاسباتی به کسی داده میشود که سهم درخوری در جامعهٔ محاسباتی دارد. این جایزه بهطور گسترده بهعنوان نوبل دنیای محاسبات شناخته میشود.
یادبودهای بسیاری از تورینگ در منچستر ساخته شده، شهری که او تا پایان عمر در آنجا مشغول بهکار بود. در سال ۱۹۹۴ خیابان بزرگی بهنام وی در منچستر نامگذاری شد. مجسمهٔ یادبود آلن تورینگ در سکویل پارک در ۲۳ جون ۲۰۰۱ در منچستر رونمایی شد. در سکویل پارک در نزدیکی دانشگاه منچستر جشن زندگی او در ۵ ژوئن ۲۰۰۴ برگزار شد و در تابستان آن سال مؤسسهٔ آلن تورینگ شروع بهکار کرد. ساختمان شامل دانشکدهٔ ریاضی، مؤسسهٔ علم فوتون و «مرکز جودرل بانک» اخترفیزیک ساختمان آلن تورینگ نامگذاری شدهاست.
در ۲۳ ژوئن ۱۹۹۸، که میتوانست هشتاد و ششمین سال تولدش باشد، «اندرو هودجس» زندگینامهنویس او، پلاک آبی خانهٔ دوران کودکی وی در "وارینگتون کرسنت لندن (هتل کولونید کنونی) را رونمایی کرد. به یاد پنجاهمین سالگرد مرگ او پلاکی در ۷ ژوئن ۲۰۰۴ در محل زندگی سابقش در ویلمسلو رونمایی شد.
پلاک آبی منزل تورینگ
بهدلیل موفقیتهایش در رشتهٔ کامپیوتر دانشگاههای زیادی یادمانهایی از او ایجاد کردهاند، مجسمهٔ برنزی تورینگ در دانشگاه سوری که یادآور پنجاهمین سالمرگ وی است، او را در حال حمل کتابهایش در محوطهٔ دانشگاه به تصویر میکشد.
دانشگاههای لوسآندس در بوگوتا، دانشگاه پلیتکنیک پورتوریکوهر یک آزمایشگاهی بهنام وی دارند، دانشگاه تکزاس در آستین برنامهای با نام «تورینگ سکالرز» دارد.
مجسمهای ۱٫۵ تنی به ابعاد واقعی در بلچلی پارک در ۱۹ ژوئن ۲۰۰۷ رو نمایی شد، که توسط «استیفن کتل» و به دستور میلیاردر «سیدنی فرانک» تراشیده شد.
در سال ۲۰۱۲ به مناسبت یکصدمین سال تولد تورینگ مراسم و کنفرانسهای مختلفی در نقاط مختلف جهان و شهرهای مختلف انگلستان برگزار شد. در ۳ تیر ۱۳۹۱ در مؤسسهٔ پژوهشی حکمت و فلسفهٔ ایران نشست یکروزهای با عنوان ذهن، منطق و محاسبه به این مناسبت برگزار شد.
عذرخواهی دولت انگلستان و عفو ۶۰ سال پس از مرگ[ویرایش]
در سال ۲۰۰۹، گردآوری امضا برای درخواست بخشودگی آلن تورینگ که در سال ۱۹۵۲ به جرم همجنسگرایی محکوم شده بود در بریتانیا آغاز شد. گوردون براون، نخستوزیر وقت، از سوی دولت، از نحوهٔ برخورد با تورینگ ابراز تأسف کرد اما گردآورندگان امضا، بر عفو رسمی او اصرار ورزیدند و طی چند سال بعد، توانستند چند هزار امضا در حمایت از خواست خود جمع کنند. در تابستان سال ۲۰۱۲، طرح عفو آلن تورینگ در مجلس اعیان به جریان افتاد و همزمان، شماری از شخصیتهای علمی بریتانیا، در نامهای به دیوید کامرون، نخستوزیر، خواستار حمایت دولت از این طرح شدند.
این طرح در ماه اکتبر سال ۲۰۱۳ در مجلس اعیان تصویب شد و پس از تصویب در مجلس عوام، روز ۲۴ دسامبر ۲۰۱۳ با عنوان مصوبهٔ برخورداری آلن تورینگ از عفو سلطنتی، توشیح و با امضای ملکهٔ بریتانیا به قانون تبدیل شد.
Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. Due to the problems of counterfactual history, it's hard to estimate what effect Ultra intelligence had on the war, but at the upper end it has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by more than two years and saved over 14 million lives.
Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts; the Labouchere Amendment of 1885 had mandated that "gross indecency" was a criminal offence in the UK. He accepted chemical castration treatment, with DES, as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined his death as a suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is also consistent with accidental poisoning.
In 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated". Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013. The Alan Turing law is now an informal term for a 2017 law in the United Kingdom that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.
Julius' work with the ICS brought the family to British India, where his grandfather had been a general in the Bengal Army. However, both Julius and Ethel wanted their children to be brought up in Britain, so they moved to Maida Vale, London, where Alan Turing was born on 23 June 1912, as recorded by a blue plaque on the outside of the house of his birth, later the Colonnade Hotel. Turing had an elder brother, John (the father of Sir John Dermot Turing, 12th Baronet of the Turing baronets).
Turing's father's civil service commission was still active and during Turing's childhood years Turing's parents travelled between Hastings in the United Kingdom and India, leaving their two sons to stay with a retired Army couple. At Hastings, Turing stayed at Baston Lodge, Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards-on-Sea, now marked with a blue plaque. The plaque was unveiled on 23 June 2012, the centenary of Turing's birth.
Very early in life, Turing showed signs of the genius that he was later to display prominently. His parents purchased a house in Guildford in 1927, and Turing lived there during school holidays. The location is also marked with a blue plaque.
Turing's parents enrolled him at St Michael's, a day school at 20 Charles Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, at the age of six. The headmistress recognised his talent early on, as did many of his subsequent teachers.
Between January 1922 and 1926, Turing was educated at Hazelhurst Preparatory School, an independent school in the village of Frant in Sussex (now East Sussex). In 1926, at the age of 13, he went on to Sherborne School, a boarding independent school in the market town of Sherborne in Dorset. The first day of term coincided with the 1926 General Strike in Britain, but he was so determined to attend, that he rode his bicycle unaccompanied 60 miles (97 km) from Southampton to Sherborne, stopping overnight at an inn.
Turing c. 1928 at age 16
Turing's natural inclination towards mathematics and science did not earn him respect from some of the teachers at Sherborne, whose definition of education placed more emphasis on the classics. His headmaster wrote to his parents: "I hope he will not fall between two stools. If he is to stay at public school, he must aim at becoming educated. If he is to be solely a Scientific Specialist, he is wasting his time at a public school". Despite this, Turing continued to show remarkable ability in the studies he loved, solving advanced problems in 1927 without having studied even elementary calculus. In 1928, aged 16, Turing encountered Albert Einstein's work; not only did he grasp it, but it is possible that he managed to deduce Einstein's questioning of Newton's laws of motion from a text in which this was never made explicit.
At Sherborne, Turing formed a significant friendship with fellow pupil Christopher Morcom (1911 – 1930), who has been described as Turing's "first love". Their relationship provided inspiration in Turing's future endeavours, but it was cut short by Morcom's death, in February 1930, from complications of bovine tuberculosis, contracted after drinking infected cow's milk some years previously.
The event caused Turing great sorrow. He coped with his grief by working that much harder on the topics of science and mathematics that he had shared with Morcom. In a letter to Morcom's mother Turing wrote:
I am sure I could not have found anywhere another companion so brilliant and yet so charming and unconceited. I regarded my interest in my work, and in such things as astronomy (to which he introduced me) as something to be shared with him and I think he felt a little the same about me ... I know I must put as much energy if not as much interest into my work as if he were alive, because that is what he would like me to do.
Turing's relationship with Morcom's mother continued long after Morcom's death, with her sending gifts to Turing, and him sending letters, typically on Morcom's birthdays. A day before the third anniversary of Morcom's death (12 February 1933), he wrote to Mrs. Morcom:
I expect you will be thinking of Chris when this reaches you. I shall too, and this letter is just to tell you that I shall be thinking of Chris and of you tomorrow. I am sure that he is as happy now as he was when he was here. Your affectionate Alan.
Some have speculated that Morcom's death was the cause of Turing's atheism and materialism. Apparently, at this point in his life he still believed in such concepts as a spirit, independent of the body and surviving death. In a later letter, also written to Morcom's mother, Turing wrote:
Personally, I believe that spirit is really eternally connected with matter but certainly not by the same kind of body ... as regards the actual connection between spirit and body I consider that the body can hold on to a 'spirit', whilst the body is alive and awake the two are firmly connected. When the body is asleep I cannot guess what happens but when the body dies, the 'mechanism' of the body, holding the spirit is gone and the spirit finds a new body sooner or later, perhaps immediately.
University and work on computability
After Sherborne, Turing studied as an undergraduate from 1931 to 1934 at King's College, Cambridge, where he was awarded first-class honours in mathematics. In 1935, at the age of 22, he was elected a fellow of King's on the strength of a dissertation in which he proved the central limit theorem. Unknown to the committee, the theorem had already been proven, in 1922, by Jarl Waldemar Lindeberg. A blue plaque at the college was unveiled on the centenary of his birth on 23 June 2012 and is now installed at the college's Keynes Building on King's Parade.
In 1936, Turing published his paper "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem". It was published in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society journal in two parts, the first on 30 November and the second on 23 December. In this paper, Turing reformulated Kurt Gödel's 1931 results on the limits of proof and computation, replacing Gödel's universal arithmetic-based formal language with the formal and simple hypothetical devices that became known as Turing machines. The Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem) was originally posed by German mathematician David Hilbert in 1928. Turing proved that his "universal computing machine" would be capable of performing any conceivable mathematical computation if it were representable as an algorithm. He went on to prove that there was no solution to the decision problem by first showing that the halting problem for Turing machines is undecidable: It is not possible to decide algorithmically whether a Turing machine will ever halt.
King's College, Cambridge, where Turing was a student in 1931 and became a Fellow in 1935. The computer room is named after him.
Although Turing's proof was published shortly after Alonzo Church's equivalent proof using his lambda calculus, Turing's approach is considerably more accessible and intuitive than Church's. It also included a notion of a 'Universal Machine' (now known as a universal Turing machine), with the idea that such a machine could perform the tasks of any other computation machine (as indeed could Church's lambda calculus). According to the Church–Turing thesis, Turing machines and the lambda calculus are capable of computing anything that is computable. John von Neumann acknowledged that the central concept of the modern computer was due to Turing's paper. To this day, Turing machines are a central object of study in theory of computation.
When Turing returned to Cambridge, he attended lectures given in 1939 by Ludwig Wittgenstein about the foundations of mathematics. The lectures have been reconstructed verbatim, including interjections from Turing and other students, from students' notes. Turing and Wittgenstein argued and disagreed, with Turing defending formalism and Wittgenstein propounding his view that mathematics does not discover any absolute truths, but rather invents them.
During the Second World War, Turing was a leading participant in the breaking of German ciphers at Bletchley Park. The historian and wartime codebreaker Asa Briggs has said, "You needed exceptional talent, you needed genius at Bletchley and Turing's was that genius."
Two cottages in the stable yard at Bletchley Park. Turing worked here in 1939 and 1940, before moving to Hut 8.
On 4 September 1939, the day after the UK declared war on Germany, Turing reported to Bletchley Park, the wartime station of GC&CS.
Specifying the bombe was the first of five major cryptanalytical advances that Turing made during the war. The others were: deducing the indicator procedure used by the German navy; developing a statistical procedure for making much more efficient use of the bombes dubbed Banburismus; developing a procedure for working out the cam settings of the wheels of the Lorenz SZ 40/42 (Tunny) dubbed Turingery and, towards the end of the war, the development of a portable secure voice scrambler at Hanslope Park that was codenamed Delilah.
By using statistical techniques to optimise the trial of different possibilities in the code breaking process, Turing made an innovative contribution to the subject. He wrote two papers discussing mathematical approaches, titled The Applications of Probability to Cryptography and Paper on Statistics of Repetitions, which were of such value to GC&CS and its successor GCHQ that they were not released to the UK National Archives until April 2012, shortly before the centenary of his birth. A GCHQ mathematician, "who identified himself only as Richard," said at the time that the fact that the contents had been restricted for some 70 years demonstrated their importance, and their relevance to post-war cryptanalysis:
[He] said the fact that the contents had been restricted "shows what a tremendous importance it has in the foundations of our subject". ... The papers detailed using "mathematical analysis to try and determine which are the more likely settings so that they can be tried as quickly as possible." ... Richard said that GCHQ had now "squeezed the juice" out of the two papers and was "happy for them to be released into the public domain".
Turing had a reputation for eccentricity at Bletchley Park. He was known to his colleagues as "Prof" and his treatise on Enigma was known as the "Prof's Book". According to historian Ronald Lewin, Jack Good, a cryptanalyst who worked with Turing, said of his colleague:
In the first week of June each year he would get a bad attack of hay fever, and he would cycle to the office wearing a service gas mask to keep the pollen off. His bicycle had a fault: the chain would come off at regular intervals. Instead of having it mended he would count the number of times the pedals went round and would get off the bicycle in time to adjust the chain by hand. Another of his eccentricities is that he chained his mug to the radiator pipes to prevent it being stolen.
Hilton recounted his experience working with Turing in Hut 8 in his "Reminiscences of Bletchley Park" from A Century of Mathematics in America:
I had the good fortune to closely with Alan Turing and to know him well for the last 12 years of his short life. It is a rare experience to meet an authentic genius. Those of us privileged to inhabit the world of scholarship are familiar with the intellectual stimulation furnished by talented colleagues. We can admire the ideas they share with us and are usually able to understand their source; we may even often believe that we ourselves could have created such concepts and originated such thoughts. However, the experience of sharing the intellectual life of a genius is entirely different; one realizes that one is in the presence of an intelligence, a sensibility of such profundity and originality that one is filled with wonder and excitement. Alan Turing was such a genius, and those, like myself, who had the astonishing and unexpected opportunity, created by the strange exigencies of the Second World War, to be able to count Turing as colleague and friend will never forget that experience, nor can we ever lose its immense benefit to us.
While working at Bletchley, Turing, who was a talented long-distance runner, occasionally ran the 40 miles (64 km) to London when he was needed for meetings, and he was capable of world-class marathon standards. Turing tried out for the 1948 British Olympic team but he was hampered by an injury. His tryout time for the marathon was only 11 minutes slower than British silver medallist Thomas Richards' Olympic race time of 2 hours 35 minutes. He was Walton Athletic Club's best runner, a fact discovered when he passed the group while running alone.
Within weeks of arriving at Bletchley Park, Turing had specified an electromechanical machine called the bombe, which could break Enigma more effectively than the Polish bomba kryptologiczna, from which its name was derived. The bombe, with an enhancement suggested by mathematician Gordon Welchman, became one of the primary tools, and the major automated one, used to attack Enigma-enciphered messages.
The bombe searched for possible correct settings used for an Enigma message (i.e., rotor order, rotor settings and plugboard settings) using a suitable crib: a fragment of probable plaintext. For each possible setting of the rotors (which had on the order of 1019 states, or 1022 states for the four-rotor U-boat variant), the bombe performed a chain of logical deductions based on the crib, implemented electromechanically.
The bombe detected when a contradiction had occurred and ruled out that setting, moving on to the next. Most of the possible settings would cause contradictions and be discarded, leaving only a few to be investigated in detail. A contradiction would occur when an enciphered letter would be turned back into the same plaintext letter, which was impossible with the Enigma. The first bombe was installed on 18 March 1940.
By late 1941, Turing and his fellow cryptanalysts Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander and Stuart Milner-Barry were frustrated. Building on the work of the Poles, they had set up a good working system for decrypting Enigma signals, but their limited staff and bombes meant they could not translate all the signals. In the summer, they had considerable success, and shipping losses had fallen to under 100,000 tons a month; however, they badly needed more resources to keep abreast of German adjustments. They had tried to get more people and fund more bombes through the proper channels, but had failed.
On 28 October they wrote directly to Winston Churchill explaining their difficulties, with Turing as the first named. They emphasised how small their need was compared with the vast expenditure of men and money by the forces and compared with the level of assistance they could offer to the forces. As Andrew Hodges, biographer of Turing, later wrote, "This letter had an electric effect." Churchill wrote a memo to General Ismay, which read: "ACTION THIS DAY. Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this has been done." On 18 November, the chief of the secret service reported that every possible measure was being taken. The cryptographers at Bletchley Park did not know of the Prime Minister's response, but as Milner-Barry recalled, "All that we did notice was that almost from that day the rough ways began miraculously to be made smooth." More than two hundred bombes were in operation by the end of the war.
Turing decided to tackle the particularly difficult problem of German naval Enigma "because no one else was doing anything about it and I could have it to myself". In December 1939, Turing solved the essential part of the naval indicator system, which was more complex than the indicator systems used by the other services.
That same night, he also conceived of the idea of Banburismus, a sequential statistical technique (what Abraham Wald later called sequential analysis) to assist in breaking the naval Enigma, "though I was not sure that it would work in practice, and was not, in fact, sure until some days had actually broken." For this, he invented a measure of weight of evidence that he called the ban. Banburismus could rule out certain sequences of the Enigma rotors, substantially reducing the time needed to test settings on the bombes. Later this sequential process of accumulating sufficient weight of evidence using decibans (one tenth of a ban) was used in Cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher
Turing travelled to the United States in November 1942 and worked with US Navy cryptanalysts on the naval Enigma and bombe construction in Washington; he also visited their Computing Machine Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.
Turing's reaction to the American bombe design was far from enthusiastic:
The American Bombe programme was to produce 336 Bombes, one for each wheel order. I used to smile inwardly at the conception of Bombe hut routine implied by this programme, but thought that no particular purpose would be served by pointing out that we would not really use them in that way.
Their test (of commutators) can hardly be considered conclusive as they were not testing for the bounce with electronic stop finding devices. Nobody seems to be told about rods or offiziers or banburismus unless they are really going to do something about it.
During this trip, he also assisted at Bell Labs with the development of secure speech devices. He returned to Bletchley Park in March 1943. During his absence, Hugh Alexander had officially assumed the position of head of Hut 8, although Alexander had been de facto head for some time (Turing having little interest in the day-to-day running of the section). Turing became a general consultant for cryptanalysis at Bletchley Park.
Alexander wrote of Turing's contribution:
There should be no question in anyone's mind that Turing's work was the biggest factor in Hut 8's success. In the early days, he was the only cryptographer who thought the problem worth tackling and not only was he primarily responsible for the main theoretical work within the Hut, but he also shared with Welchman and Keen the chief credit for the invention of the bombe. It is always difficult to say that anyone is 'absolutely indispensable', but if anyone was indispensable to Hut 8, it was Turing. The pioneer's work always tends to be forgotten when experience and routine later make everything seem easy and many of us in Hut 8 felt that the magnitude of Turing's contribution was never fully realised by the outside world.
In July 1942, Turing devised a technique termed Turingery (or jokingly Turingismus) for use against the Lorenz cipher messages produced by the Germans' new Geheimschreiber (secret writer) machine. This was a teleprinterrotor cipher attachment codenamed Tunny at Bletchley Park. Turingery was a method of wheel-breaking, i.e., a procedure for working out the cam settings of Tunny's wheels. He also introduced the Tunny team to Tommy Flowers who, under the guidance of Max Newman, went on to build the Colossus computer, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer, which replaced a simpler prior machine (the Heath Robinson), and whose superior speed allowed the statistical decryption techniques to be applied usefully to the messages. Some have mistakenly said that Turing was a key figure in the design of the Colossus computer. Turingery and the statistical approach of Banburismus undoubtedly fed into the thinking about cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher, but he was not directly involved in the Colossus development.
Following his work at Bell Labs in the US, Turing pursued the idea of electronic enciphering of speech in the telephone system. In the latter part of the war, he moved in order to work for the Secret Service's Radio Security Service (later HMGCC) at Hanslope Park. At the park, he further developed his knowledge of electronics with the assistance of engineer Donald Bayley. Together they undertook the design and construction of a portable secure voice communications machine codenamed Delilah. The machine was intended for different applications, but it lacked the capability for use with long-distance radio transmissions. In any case, Delilah was completed too late to be used during the war. Though the system worked fully, with Turing demonstrating it to officials by encrypting and decrypting a recording of a Winston Churchill speech, Delilah was not adopted for use. Turing also consulted with Bell Labs on the development of SIGSALY, a secure voice system that was used in the later years of the war.
Between 1945 and 1947, Turing lived in Hampton, London, while he worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). He presented a paper on 19 February 1946, which was the first detailed design of a stored-program computer.Von Neumann's incomplete First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC had predated Turing's paper, but it was much less detailed and, according to John R. Womersley, Superintendent of the NPL Mathematics Division, it "contains a number of ideas which are Dr. Turing's own". Although ACE was a feasible design, the secrecy surrounding the wartime work at Bletchley Park led to delays in starting the project and he became disillusioned. In late 1947 he returned to Cambridge for a sabbatical year during which he produced a seminal work on Intelligent Machinery that was not published in his lifetime. While he was at Cambridge, the Pilot ACE was being built in his absence. It executed its first program on 10 May 1950, and a number of later computers around the world owe much to it, including the English Electric DEUCE and the American Bendix G-15. The full version of Turing's ACE was not built until after his death.
According to the memoirs of the German computer pioneer Heinz Billing from the Max Planck Institute for Physics, published by Genscher, Düsseldorf, there was a meeting between Turing and Konrad Zuse. It took place in Göttingen in 1947. The interrogation had the form of a colloquium. Participants were Womersley, Turing, Porter from England and a few German researchers like Zuse, Walther, and Billing (for more details see Herbert Bruderer, Konrad Zuse und die Schweiz).
In 1948, Turing was appointed reader in the Mathematics Department at the Victoria University of Manchester. A year later, he became Deputy Director of the Computing Machine Laboratory, where he worked on software for one of the earliest stored-program computers—the Manchester Mark 1. Turing wrote the first version of the Programmer's Manual for this machine, and was recruited by Ferranti as a consultant in the development of their commercialised machine, the Ferranti Mark 1. He continued to be paid consultancy fees by Ferranti until his death. During this time, he continued to do more abstract work in mathematics, and in "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" (Mind, October 1950), Turing addressed the problem of artificial intelligence, and proposed an experiment that became known as the Turing test, an attempt to define a standard for a machine to be called "intelligent". The idea was that a computer could be said to "think" if a human interrogator could not tell it apart, through conversation, from a human being. In the paper, Turing suggested that rather than building a program to simulate the adult mind, it would be better to produce a simpler one to simulate a child's mind and then to subject it to a course of education. A reversed form of the Turing test is widely used on the Internet; the CAPTCHA test is intended to determine whether the user is a human or a computer.
In 1948 Turing, working with his former undergraduate colleague, D.G. Champernowne, began writing a chess program for a computer that did not yet exist. By 1950, the program was completed and dubbed the Turochamp. In 1952, he tried to implement it on a Ferranti Mark 1, but lacking enough power, the computer was unable to execute the program. Instead, Turing "ran" the program by flipping through the pages of the algorithm and carrying out its instructions on a chessboard, taking about half an hour per move. The game was recorded. According to Garry Kasparov, Turing's program "played a recognizable game of chess." The program lost to Turing's colleague Alick Glennie, although it is said that it won a game against Champernowne's wife,
His Turing test was a significant, characteristically provocative, and lasting contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence, which continues after more than half a century.
Pattern formation and mathematical biology
When Turing was 39 years old in 1951, he turned to mathematical biology, finally publishing his masterpiece "The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis" in January 1952. He was interested in morphogenesis, the development of patterns and shapes in biological organisms. He suggested that a system of chemicals reacting with each other and diffusing across space, termed a reaction-diffusion system, could account for "the main phenomena of morphogenesis". He used systems of partial differential equations to model catalytic chemical reactions. For example, if a catalyst A is required for a certain chemical reaction to take place, and if the reaction produced more of the catalyst A, then we say that the reaction is autocatalytic, and there is positive feedback that can be modelled by nonlinear differential equations. Turing discovered that patterns could be created if the chemical reaction not only produced catalyst A, but also produced an inhibitor B that slowed down the production of A. If A and B then diffused through the container at different rates, then you could have some regions where A dominated and some where B did. To calculate the extent of this, Turing would have needed a powerful computer, but these were not so freely available in 1951, so he had to use linear approximations to solve the equations by hand. These calculations gave the right qualitative results, and produced, for example, a uniform mixture that oddly enough had regularly spaced fixed red spots. The Russian biochemist Boris Belousov had performed experiments with similar results, but could not get his papers published because of the contemporary prejudice that any such thing violated the second law of thermodynamics. Belousov was not aware of Turing's paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
Although published before the structure and role of DNA was understood, Turing's work on morphogenesis remains relevant today and is considered a seminal piece of work in mathematical biology. One of the early applications of Turing's paper was the work by James Murray explaining spots and stripes on the fur of cats, large and small. Further research in the area suggests that Turing's work can partially explain the growth of "feathers, hair follicles, the branching pattern of lungs, and even the left-right asymmetry that puts the heart on the left side of the chest." In 2012, Sheth, et al. found that in mice, removal of Hox genes causes an increase in the number of digits without an increase in the overall size of the limb, suggesting that Hox genes control digit formation by tuning the wavelength of a Turing-type mechanism. Later papers were not available until Collected Works of A. M. Turing was published in 1992.
In 1941, Turing proposed marriage to Hut 8 colleague Joan Clarke, a fellow mathematician and cryptanalyst, but their engagement was short-lived. After admitting his homosexuality to his fiancée, who was reportedly "unfazed" by the revelation, Turing decided that he could not go through with the marriage.
Conviction for indecency
In January 1952, Turing was 39 when he started a relationship with Arnold Murray, a 19-year-old unemployed man. Just before Christmas, Turing was walking along Manchester's Oxford Road when he met Murray just outside the Regal Cinema and invited him to lunch. On 23 January, Turing's house was burgled. Murray told Turing that he and the burglar were acquainted, and Turing reported the crime to the police. During the investigation, he acknowledged a sexual relationship with Murray. Homosexual acts were criminal offences in the United Kingdom at that time, and both men were charged with "gross indecency" under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Initial committal proceedings for the trial were held on 27 February during which Turing's solicitor "reserved his defence", i.e., did not argue or provide evidence against the allegations.
Turing was later convinced by the advice of his brother and his own solicitor, and he entered a plea of guilty. The case, Regina v. Turing and Murray, was brought to trial on 31 March 1952. Turing was convicted and given a choice between imprisonment and probation. His probation would be conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal physical changes designed to reduce libido. He accepted the option of injections of what was then called stilboestrol (now known as diethylstilbestrol or DES), a synthetic oestrogen; this feminization of his body was continued for the course of one year. The treatment rendered Turing impotent and caused breast tissue to form, fulfilling in the literal sense Turing's prediction that "no doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I've not found out". Murray was given a conditional discharge.
Turing's conviction led to the removal of his security clearance and barred him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British signals intelligence agency that had evolved from GC&CS in 1946, though he kept his academic job. He was denied entry into the United States after his conviction in 1952, but was free to visit other European countries. Turing was never accused of espionage but, in common with all who had worked at Bletchley Park, he was prevented by the Official Secrets Act from discussing his war work.
On 8 June 1954, Turing's housekeeper found him dead at the age of 41; he had died the previous day. Cyanide poisoning was established as the cause of death. When his body was discovered, an apple lay half-eaten beside his bed, and although the apple was not tested for cyanide, it was speculated that this was the means by which Turing had consumed a fatal dose. An inquest determined that he had committed suicide. Andrew Hodges and another biographer, David Leavitt, have both speculated that Turing was re-enacting a scene from the Walt Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), his favourite fairy tale. Both men noted that (in Leavitt's words) he took "an especially keen pleasure in the scene where the Wicked Queen immerses her apple in the poisonous brew". Turing's remains were cremated at Woking Crematorium on 12 June 1954, and his ashes were scattered in the gardens of the crematorium, just as his father's had been.
Philosophy professor Jack Copeland has questioned various aspects of the coroner's historical verdict. He suggested an alternative explanation for the cause of Turing's death: the accidental inhalation of cyanide fumes from an apparatus used to electroplate gold onto spoons. The potassium cyanide was used to dissolve the gold. Turing had such an apparatus set up in his tiny spare room. Copeland noted that the autopsy findings were more consistent with inhalation than with ingestion of the poison. Turing also habitually ate an apple before going to bed, and it was not unusual for the apple to be discarded half-eaten. In addition, Turing had reportedly borne his legal setbacks and hormone treatment (which had been discontinued a year previously) "with good humour" and had shown no sign of despondency prior to his death. He even set down a list of tasks that he intended to complete upon returning to his office after the holiday weekend. Turing's mother believed that the ingestion was accidental, resulting from her son's careless storage of laboratory chemicals. Biographer Andrew Hodges theorised that Turing arranged the delivery of the equipment in order to deliberately allow his mother plausible deniability with regard to any suicide claims.
Conspiracy theorists pointed out that Turing was the cause of intense anxiety to the British authorities at the time of his death. The secret services feared that communists would entrap prominent homosexuals and use them to gather intelligence. Turing was still engaged in highly classified work when he was also a practising homosexual who holidayed in European countries near the Iron Curtain. According to the conspiracy theory, it is possible that the secret services considered him too great a security risk and assassinated one of the most brilliant minds in their employ.
It has been suggested that Turing's belief in fortune-telling may have caused his depressed mood. As a youth, Turing had been told by a fortune-teller that he would be a genius. Shortly before his death, during a day-trip to St Annes-on-Sea with the Greenbaum family,[when?] Turing again decided to consult a fortune-teller. According to the Greenbaums' daughter, Barbara:
But it was a lovely sunny day and Alan was in a cheerful mood and off we went... Then he thought it would be a good idea to go to the Pleasure Beach at Blackpool. We found a fortune-teller's tent[,] and Alan said he'd like to go in[,] so we waited around for him to come back... And this sunny, cheerful visage had shrunk into a pale, shaking, horror-stricken face. Something had happened. We don't know what the fortune-teller said[,] but he obviously was deeply unhappy. I think that was probably the last time we saw him before we heard of his suicide.
Government apology and pardon
In August 2009, British programmer John Graham-Cumming started a petition urging the British government to apologise for Turing's prosecution as a homosexual. The petition received more than 30,000 signatures. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, acknowledged the petition, releasing a statement on 10 September 2009 apologising and describing the treatment of Turing as "appalling":
Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him ... So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better.
In December 2011, William Jones and his Member of Parliament, John Leech, created an e-petition requesting that the British government pardon Turing for his conviction of "gross indecency":
We ask the HM Government to grant a pardon to Alan Turing for the conviction of "gross indecency". In 1952, he was convicted of "gross indecency" with another man and was forced to undergo so-called "organo-therapy"—chemical castration. Two years later, he killed himself with cyanide, aged just 41. Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death by the nation he'd done so much to save. This remains a shame on the British government and British history. A pardon can go some way to healing this damage. It may act as an apology to many of the other gay men, not as well-known as Alan Turing, who were subjected to these laws.
The petition gathered over 37,000 signatures, and was submitted to Parliament by the Manchester MP John Leech but the request was discouraged by Justice Minister Lord McNally, who said:
A posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate as Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence. He would have known that his offence was against the law and that he would be prosecuted. It is tragic that Alan Turing was convicted of an offence that now seems both cruel and absurd—particularly poignant given his outstanding contribution to the war effort. However, the law at the time required a prosecution and, as such, long-standing policy has been to accept that such convictions took place and, rather than trying to alter the historical context and to put right what cannot be put right, ensure instead that we never again return to those times.
John Leech, the MP for Manchester Withington (2005–15), submitted several bills to Parliament and led a high-profile campaign to secure the pardon. Leech made the case in the House of Commons that Turing's contribution to the war made him a national hero and that it was "ultimately just embarrassing" that the conviction still stood. Leech continued to take the bill through Parliament and campaigned for several years until it was passed. Leech is now regularly described as the "architect" of Turing's pardon and subsequently the Alan Turing Law which went on to secure pardons for 75,000 other men and women convicted of similar crimes. At the UK premiere of a film based on Turing's life, The Imitation Game, the producers thanked Leech for bringing the topic to public attention and securing Turing's pardon. His campaign turned to acquiring pardons for the 75,000 other men convicted of the same crime. Leech's campaign gained public support from leading scientists, including Stephen Hawking.
At the bill's second reading in the House of Commons on 29 November 2013, Conservative MP Christopher Chope objected to the bill, delaying its passage. The bill was due to return to the House of Commons on 28 February 2014, but before the bill could be debated in the House of Commons, the government elected to proceed under the royal prerogative of mercy. On 24 December 2013, Queen Elizabeth II signed a pardon for Turing's conviction for "gross indecency", with immediate effect. Announcing the pardon, Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling said Turing deserved to be "remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort" and not for his later criminal conviction. The Queen officially pronounced Turing pardoned in August 2014. The Queen's action is only the fourth royal pardon granted since the conclusion of the Second World War. Pardons are normally granted only when the person is technically innocent, and a request has been made by the family or other interested party; neither condition was met in regard to Turing's conviction.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, human rights advocate Peter Tatchell criticised the decision to single out Turing due to his fame and achievements when thousands of others convicted under the same law have not received pardons. Tatchell also called for a new investigation into Turing's death:
A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death—including speculation that he was murdered by the security services (or others). I think murder by state agents is unlikely. There is no known evidence pointing to any such act. However, it is a major failing that this possibility has never been considered or investigated.
In September 2016, the government announced its intention to expand this retroactive exoneration to other men convicted of similar historical indecency offences, in what was described as an "Alan Turing law". The Alan Turing law is now an informal term for the law in the United Kingdom, contained in the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which serves as an amnesty law to retroactively pardon men who were cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts. The law applies in England and Wales.
In the early 1960s, Stanford University named the sole lecture room of the Polya Hall Mathematics building "Alan Turing Auditorium".
One of the amphitheatres of the Computer Science department (LIFL) at the University of Lille in northern France is named in honour of Alan M. Turing (the other amphitheatre is named after Kurt Gödel).
Ghent University named a computer room after Turing, in their department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics.
Nvidia unveiled their line of GeForce Graphics Cards based on the Turing microarchitecture, which in turn was named after Turing. The architecture introduces the first consumer products capable of real-time raytracing, which has been a longstanding goal of the computer graphics industry.
Three remarkable papers written just before the war, on three diverse mathematical subjects, show the quality of the work that might have been produced if he had settled down to work on some big problem at that critical time. For his work at the Foreign Office he was awarded the OBE.
Since 1966, the Turing Award has been given annually by the Association for Computing Machinery for technical or theoretical contributions to the computing community. It is widely considered to be the computing world's highest honour, equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
On 23 June 1998, on what would have been Turing's 86th birthday, his biographer, Andrew Hodges, unveiled an official English Heritageblue plaque at his birthplace in Warrington Crescent, London, later the Colonnade Hotel. To mark the 50th anniversary of his death, a memorial plaque was unveiled on 7 June 2004 at his former residence, Hollymeade, in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
On 13 March 2000, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines issued a set of postage stamps to celebrate the greatest achievements of the 20th century, one of which carries a portrait of Turing against a background of repeated 0s and 1s, and is captioned: "1937: Alan Turing's theory of digital computing". On 1 April 2003, Turing's work at Bletchley Park was named an IEEE Milestone. On 28 October 2004, a bronze statue of Turing sculpted by John W. Mills was unveiled at the University of Surrey in Guildford, marking the 50th anniversary of Turing's death; it portrays him carrying his books across the campus.
Turing was one of four mathematicians examined in the BBC documentary entitled Dangerous Knowledge (2008). The Princeton Alumni Weekly named Turing the second most significant alumnus in the history of Princeton University, second only to President James Madison. A 1.5-ton, life-size statue of Turing was unveiled on 19 June 2007 at Bletchley Park. Built from approximately half a million pieces of Welsh slate, it was sculpted by Stephen Kettle, having been commissioned by the American billionaire Sidney Frank.
Turing has been honoured in various ways in Manchester, the city where he worked towards the end of his life. In 1994, a stretch of the A6010 road (the Manchester city intermediate ring road) was named "Alan Turing Way". A bridge carrying this road was widened, and carries the name Alan Turing Bridge. A statue of Turing was unveiled in Manchester on 23 June 2001 in Sackville Park, between the University of Manchester building on Whitworth Street and Canal Street. The memorial statue depicts the "father of computer science" sitting on a bench at a central position in the park. Turing is shown holding an apple. The cast bronze bench carries in relief the text 'Alan Mathison Turing 1912–1954', and the motto 'Founder of Computer Science' as it could appear if encoded by an Enigma machine: 'IEKYF ROMSI ADXUO KVKZC GUBJ'. However, the meaning of the coded message is disputed, as the 'u' in 'computer' matches up with the 'u' in 'ADXUO'. As a letter encoded by an enigma machine can not appear as itself, the actual message behind the code is uncertain.
A plaque at the statue's feet reads 'Father of computer science, mathematician, logician, wartime codebreaker, victim of prejudice'. There is also a Bertrand Russell quotation: "Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture." The sculptor buried his own old Amstrad computer under the plinth as a tribute to "the godfather of all modern computers".
In 1999, Time magazine named Turing as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century and stated, "The fact remains that everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine."
In 2002, Turing was ranked twenty-first on the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote. In 2006, British writer and mathematician Ioan James chose Turing as one of twenty people to feature in his book about famous historical figures who may have had some of the traits of Asperger syndrome. In 2010, actor/playwright Jade Esteban Estrada portrayed Turing in the solo musical, Icons: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 4. In 2011, in The Guardian's "My hero" series, writer Alan Garner chose Turing as his hero and described how they had met while out jogging in the early 1950s. Garner remembered Turing as "funny and witty" and said that he "talked endlessly". In 2006, Turing was named with online resources as an LGBT History Month Icon. In 2006, Boston Pride named Turing their Honorary Grand Marshal.
The logo of Apple Inc. is often erroneously referred to as a tribute to Turing, with the bite mark a reference to his death. Both the designer of the logo and the company deny that there is any homage to Turing in the design.Stephen Fry has recounted asking Steve Jobs whether the design was intentional, saying that Jobs' response was, "God, we wish it were." In February 2011, Turing's papers from the Second World War were bought for the nation with an 11th-hour bid by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, allowing them to stay at Bletchley Park.
In 2012, Turing was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display that celebrates LGBT history and people.
On 17 May 2014, the world's first work of public art to recognise Turing as gay was commissioned in Bletchley, close by to Bletchley Park where his war-time work was carried out. The commission was announced to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The work was unveiled at a ceremony on Turing's birthday, 23 June 2014, and is placed alongside busy Watling Street, the old main road to London, where Turing himself would have passed by on many occasions. On 22 October 2014, Turing was inducted into the NSA Hall of Honor.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Turing's birth, the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee (TCAC) co-ordinated the Alan Turing Year, a year-long programme of events around the world honouring Turing's life and achievements. The TCAC, chaired by S. Barry Cooper with Turing's nephew Sir John Dermot Turing acting as Honorary President, worked with the University of Manchester faculty members and a broad spectrum of people from Cambridge University and Bletchley Park.
On 23 June 2012, Google featured an interactive doodle where visitors had to change the instructions of a Turing Machine, so when run, the symbols on the tape would match a provided sequence, featuring "Google" in Baudot-Murray code.
The Bletchley Park Trust collaborated with Winning Moves to publish an Alan Turing edition of the board game Monopoly. The game's squares and cards have been revised to tell the story of Turing's life, from his birthplace in Maida Vale to Hut 8 at Bletchley Park. The game also includes a replica of an original hand-drawn board created by William Newman, son of Turing's mentor, Max Newman, which Turing played on in the 1950s.
The Science Museum in London launched a free exhibition devoted to Turing's life and achievements in June 2012, to run until July 2013. In February 2012, the Royal Mail issued a stamp featuring Turing as part of its "Britons of Distinction" series. The London 2012Olympic Torch flame was passed on in front of Turing's statue in Sackville Gardens, Manchester, on the evening of 23 June 2012, the 100th anniversary of his birth.
In 2012, in honour of the Turing Centennial, American Lyric Theater commissioned an operatic exploration of the life and death of Turing from composer Justine F. Chen and librettist David Simpatico. Titled The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing, the opera is a historical fantasia on the life of Turing. In November 2014, the opera and several other artistic works inspired by Turing's life were featured on Studio 360. The opera received its first public performance in January 2017.
The 2009 novel Fall of Man in Wilmslow by David Lagercrantz is a fictional account of the investigation of Alan Turing's death written from the point of view of the investigating police officer.
The 2015 novel Speak, written by Louisa Hall, includes a series of fictional letters written from Turing to his best friend's mother throughout his life, detailing his research about artificial intelligence.
In the graphic novel series Über, in which a fictionalised version of WWII plays out involving superhuman soldiers called "Tank-Men", Turing is one of the researchers as well as a Tank-Man himself.
In 2012, Spanish group Hidrogenesse dedicated their LP Un dígito binario dudoso. Recital para Alan Turing (A dubious binary digit. Concert for Alan Turing) to the memory of the mathematician.
A musical work inspired by Turing's life, written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys, entitled A Man from the Future, was announced in late 2013. It was performed by the Pet Shop Boys and Juliet Stevenson (narrator), the BBC Singers, and the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Dominic Wheeler at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall on 23 July 2014.
Codebreaker, original UK title Britain's Greatest Codebreaker, is a TV film that aired on 21 November 2011 by Channel 4 about Turing's life. It had a limited release in the US beginning on 17 October 2012. The story is told as a discussion between Turing and his psychiatrist Dr. Franz Greenbaum. The story is based on journals maintained by Greenbaum and others who have studied Turing's life as well as some of his colleagues.
^ abGray, Paul (29 March 1999). "Alan Turing – Time 100 People of the Century". Time. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2011. Providing a blueprint for the electronic digital computer. The fact remains that everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine.
^See for example Richelson, Jeffery T. (1997). A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 296. and Hartcup, Guy (2000). The Effect of Science on the Second World War. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan Press. pp. 96–99.
^See Section 3 of John Aldrich, "England and Continental Probability in the Inter-War Years", Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique, vol. 5/2 Decembre 2009Archived 21 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique
^"von Neumann ... firmly emphasised to me, and to others I am sure, that the fundamental conception is owing to Turing—insofar as not anticipated by Babbage, Lovelace and others." Letter by Stanley Frankel to Brian Randell, 1972, quoted in Jack Copeland (2004) The Essential Turing, p. 22.
^Kasparov, Garry, Smart machines will free us all, The Wall Street Journal, 15–16 April 2017, p. c3
^O'Connor, J.J.; Robertson, E.F. "David Gawen Champernowne". MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
^"Computer Science and philosophy". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) A new undergraduate degree course, with its first students having started in 2012, the centenary of Alan Turing's birth.
Oakley, Brian, ed. (2006). The Bletchley Park War Diaries: July 1939 – August 1945 (2.6 ed.). Wynne Press.
O'Connell, H; Fitzgerald, M (2003). "Did Alan Turing have Asperger's syndrome?". Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. Irish Institute of Psychological Medicine. 20: 28–31. doi:10.1017/s0790966700007503. ISSN0790-9667.
Turing, Sara Stoney (1959). Alan M Turing. W Heffer. Turing's mother, who survived him by many years, wrote this 157-page biography of her son, glorifying his life. It was published in 1959, and so could not cover his war work. Scarcely 300 copies were sold (Sara Turing to Lyn Newman, 1967, Library of St John's College, Cambridge). The six-page foreword by Lyn Irvine includes reminiscences and is more frequently quoted. It was re-published by Cambridge University Press in 2012, to honour the centenary of his birth, and included a new foreword by Martin Davis, as well as a never-before-published memoir by Turing's older brother John F. Turing.
Whitemore, Hugh; Hodges, Andrew (1988). Breaking the code. S. French. This 1986 Hugh Whitemore play tells the story of Turing's life and death. In the original West End and Broadway runs, Derek Jacobi played Turing and he recreated the role in a 1997 television film based on the play made jointly by the BBC and WGBH, Boston. The play is published by Amber Lane Press, Oxford, ASIN: B000B7TM0Q