Alan Turing (1912 - 1954) was a British mathematician, logician, and cryptographer considered by many to be the father of computer science. His contributions to breaking the German Nazi Enigma code during WWII were considered pivotal to the Allied war effort. Alan Turing formulated multiple ideas that now lie at the foundations of computer science and computability theory, such as the idea of a Turing machine or the Church-Turing thesis. Contributions
In 1945, Turing was recruited to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in London to design and develop an electronic computer. His design for the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) was the first relatively complete specification of an electronic stored-program general-purpose digital computer. Had Turing’s ACE been built as planned, it would have had considerably more memory than any of the other early computers, as well as being faster. However, his colleagues at NPL thought the engineering too difficult to attempt, and a much simpler machine was built, the Pilot Model ACE. In the end, NPL lost the race to build the world’s first working electronic stored-program digital computer—an honour that went to the Royal Society Computing Machine Laboratory at the University of Manchester in June 1948. Discouraged by the delays at NPL, Turing took up the deputy directorship of the Computing Machine Laboratory in that year (there was no director). His earlier theoretical concept of a universal Turing machine had been a fundamental influence on the Manchester computer project from its inception. Turing’s principal practical contribution after his arrival at Manchester was to design the programming system of the Ferranti Mark I, the world’s first commercially available electronic digital computer. Artificial intelligence pioneer
Turing was a founding father of modern cognitive science and a leading early exponent of the hypothesis that the human brain is in large part a digital computing...