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Alan Turing

Born: 23 June 1912

Died: 7 June 1954

Nationality: British

Alan Turing, the son of Julius Mathison Turing and Ethel Sara, was born in London on 23 June 1912, to an Anglo-Irish Protestant family. At 24 years of age he showed how a simple automated system could manipulate symbols within a great system of rules. He devoted his life to theorems and to the Computability Theory.

During the Second World War, Turing was in the service of the British army. He was head of Hut 8, the section responsible for Cryptanalysis. Here he created a machine called Colossus. This machine had the task of breaking top-secret German codes produced by a type of coding machine called Lorenz.

For being a homosexual, he was subject to public humiliation, used as a lab rat for female hormones and subsequently chemically castrated. In the end, he died of cyanide poisoning. Some say it was suicide, others murder, but no one knows for sure.

Turing can definitely be viewed as a Great Utopian as his inventions and brilliance shaped the world that we live in. It is said that without his genius and code breaking of German/ Nazi ciphers the war would’ve gone on for at least another two to four years. His work on algorithms and computation that led to the creation of the Turing Machine, revolutionised the fields of computer science and artificial intelligence. Equally, the Turing machine is seen as the model for the modern day, general-purpose computer.

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