Alan Turing: The Enigma The Centenary Edition by Andrew Hodges, Douglas Hofstadter

By Andrew Hodges, Douglas Hofstadter

It's only a mild exaggeration to claim that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) kept the Allies from the Nazis, invented the pc and synthetic intelligence, and expected homosexual liberation through decades--all earlier than his suicide at age 41. This vintage biography of the founding father of laptop technology, reissued at the centenary of his beginning with a considerable new preface by way of the writer, is the definitive account of a rare brain and lifestyles. A gripping tale of arithmetic, desktops, cryptography, and gay persecution, Andrew Hodges's acclaimed ebook captures either the internal and outer drama of Turing's lifestyles. Hodges tells how Turing's progressive suggestion of 1936--the proposal of a common machine--laid the basis for the fashionable desktop and the way Turing introduced the belief to useful consciousness in 1945 along with his digital layout. The e-book additionally tells how this paintings was once without delay regarding Turing's prime function in breaking the German Enigma ciphers in the course of global struggle II, a systematic triumph that used to be serious to Allied victory within the Atlantic. whilst, this is often the tragic tale of a guy who, regardless of his wartime carrier, was once ultimately arrested, stripped of his safety clearance, and compelled to suffer a humiliating remedy program--all for attempting to reside in truth in a society that outlined homosexuality as against the law.

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Additional info for Alan Turing: The Enigma The Centenary Edition

Sample text

He could then say with confidence that all algorithms, all possible mechanical processes, could be implemented on a universal machine. His formulation became known immediately as ‘the Turing machine’ but now it is impossible not to see Turing machines as computer programs, or software. Nowadays it is perhaps taken rather for granted that computers can replace other machines, whether for record-keeping, photography, graphic design, printing, mail, telephony, or music, by virtue of appropriate software being written and executed.

Although the Stoney family did not lack for funds, her early life was as grim as that of Julius Turing. All four Stoney children were sent back to Ireland to be educated. It was a pattern familiar to British India, whose children’s loveless lives were part of the price of the Empire. They were landed upon their uncle William Crawford, a bank manager of County Clare, with two children of his own by a first marriage and four by a second. It was not a place for affection or attention. The Crawfords moved to Dublin in 1891, where Ethel dutifully went to school each day on the horse-bus, crushed by a regimen that permitted her a mean threepence for lunch.

Alan was very fond of the Wards’ second daughter Hazel, but hated the youngest Joan, who was intermediate in age between him and John. Both Turing boys disappointed Mrs Ward, for they scorned fighting and toy weapons, even model Dreadnoughts. Indeed, Mrs Ward wrote to Mrs Turing complaining that John was a bookworm, and Mrs Turing loyally wrote to John chiding him. Walks on the windswept promenade, picnics on the stony beach, games at children’s parties, and tea before a roaring fire in the nursery were the most that the Ward environment had to offer in the way of stimulation.

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