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Turing's Greatest British Innovation

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by GRW, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "Mathematician Alan Turing's theoretical basis for all modern computers known as the 'universal machine' has been voted the greatest British innovation of the past century in a new poll.
    The famous computer scientist came up with the theory, on which all modern computing is based, in a paper 'on computable numbers' in 1936.
    He described a device that would read symbols on a tape and proposed that the tape could be used to program the machine.
    However it was not until later that Turing’s ideas were realised as practical machines.
    The 'universal machine' came top of a poll to find the greatest British innovation of the past 100 years.
    More than 50,000 votes were entered with Turing's theory securing 18 per cent - just one per cent ahead of the BMC Mini.
    'We owe him a huge debt,' said Stephen Fry, who has championed Turing’s innovation throughout the vote.
    'His Universal Machine idea laid the logical and mathematical foundations of the technology you're using to read this.'
    Turing studied mathematics at King’s College, University of Cambridge.
    With the outbreak of the Second World War, he became head of a code-breaking unit at Bletchley Park, home to the Government Code and Cypher School.
    He used his profound mathematical skill to design, with colleague Gordon Welchman, a series of huge electromechanical code-breaking machines known as ‘bombes’."
  2. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

    Mar 19, 2010
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    This fellow can garner 50,000 votes as a British innovator/computer developer and is associated with code breaking and I know, even on this side of the pond, garners great respect yet here gets no replies on the forum. Have we no good British geeks aboard or British mathematicians who have some respect when one of their own steps forth in great accolades? Oh well, they are probably herding sheep, and attending to matters of consequence, adjusting their kilts, respecting their royalty etc. or they are just dependent on their abacus for calculating. Historian, we may need to attach a sound file with bagpipes to get their attention if my comments don't work something up.
  3. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

    Feb 20, 2008
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    Turing had a pretty tragic life, mostly due to the British Government's archaic laws resulting in his suicide at age 42. Imagine what he could have achieved had he been allowed to live his life.
  4. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Dec 23, 2002
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    We've had a few threads on Turring lately Victor. He has my respect. They are making a movie about him I believe. It took years to get any sort of monument up to him and then it was a measly bench on a roundabout or road section as you call em in Manchester on a trading estate....But he is well known and respected here. I'd put him up there with Fleming. and penecilan or even in my view as high as Monty but on another fighting front.
  5. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

    Feb 12, 2008
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    Sewanee, Tennessee, USA
    It really is a shame how prejudices against his sexual orientation influenced his suicide and ended his amazing career way too early : ( It's not measurable, the number of lives this man saved due to his simple genius...
    gtblackwell likes this.
  6. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

    Jul 4, 2006
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    Auburn, Alabama, US
    I totally agree with Hufflepuff. That one of the greatest minds of the 20 th century, and one who saved countless lives , contributed to winning ww2 as much as any other single individual, IMHO, would have to suffer such is inconceivable to me.


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