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Showing posts from June, 2009

Alan Turing deserves an apology from the British Government

When I started writing The Geek Atlas there was one name that was getting in the book no matter what: Alan Turing.

Alan Turing matters on many levels because he was, in the words of the memorial in Manchester:

Father of computer science, mathematician, logician, wartime codebreaker, victim of prejudice

Turing's work has affected us all. He's best know for his involvement in Second World War code breaking (especially for helping to break Engima) and if all he had done was that we would be grateful.

But Turing was also a critical pioneer of computer science. He defined a theoretical model of computers (at a time when 'computer' meant a person, often a woman, who computed numbers) that holds true today. He suggested how we might determine whether a computer was sentient (with the Turing Test).

Turing's death should remind us how prejudice ruins and degrades.

Alan Turing was gay. And he was prosecuted for 'indecent acts' and eventually took his own life aged 41.…