The Role of Alan Turing in the History of Computing

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  • Topic: Alan Turing, Enigma machine, Turing machine
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The role of Alan Turing in the history of computing

Alan Mathison Turing was born on 23 June 1912, Paddington, London. He was a true pioneer in computer science and if it were not for this man, no one would probably be typing an essay based on him on a modern computer. He is renowned for his passion of mathematics and the invention of the Turing machine/test, breaking the German enigma code during World War One, and for making the first automated computing machine (the ACE).

At an early age he was sent to preparatory school by his parents, he attended these until enrolling at Sherbourne in 1926. His teachers there were surprised to find him working through the long way for the answers to questions, after Sherbourne Turing enrolled at King’s College where he became a mathematics scholar in 1931 where he began his studies in maths and logistics. He was elected at King’s and won the Smith’s award in 1936 for a paper he wrote on the “Gaussian error function”, this is when he began work to develop The Turing Machine.(Copeland, 2004) But later in 1936 he moved to the United States to study at Princeton for two years where he studied the theory of computation and in 1937 presented a paper called “On computable numbers, with an application to the “Entscheidungs problem” and soon to challenge David Hilbert’s three questions put forward to the best of the mathematical minds, which were; Was maths complete? Was maths constant?, was maths decidable? (Hodges, 1992; Copeland 2004).

Though his work on the Entscheidungs problem he began working on to define what a method was, and through that he came up with the Turing machine theory which can be said to be a mechanical process that was able to perform all the operations a person working with a logical system would be able to perform this theory compares human thought processes to that of a machine, which in the Turing machine theory are categorized as terms of inputs, outputs and machine states. The Turing machine is a...
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