Alan Turing was a founder of computer science, mathematician and a cryptographer who designed a machine to help break the German Enigma encrypted messages in World War 2. Winston Churchill said that Turing made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany.
Turing was educated at Sherborne College and Cambridge University, and received a PhD from Princeton.
Max Von Neumann acknowledged that the central concept of the modern computer was due to Turing's paper in 1936, and Turing machines are to this day a central object of study in theory of computation.
During the Second World War, Turing was a leading participant in the breaking of German ciphers at Bletchley Park. Turing had specified an electromechanical machine called a bombe that could help break Enigma more effectively than the Polish bomba kryptologiczna, from which its name was derived. The bombe, with an enhancement suggested by mathematician Gordon Welchman, became one of the primary tools, and the major automated one, used to attack Enigma-enciphered messages.
In 1945, Turing was awarded the OBE by King George VI for his wartime services, but his work remained secret for many years.
From 1945 to 1947, Turing worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) at the National Physical Laboratory. He presented a paper on 19 February 1946, which was the first detailed design of a stored-program computer.
In 1950 while at Manchester University, Turing addressed the problem of artificial intelligence, and proposed an experiment which became known as the Turing test, an attempt to define a standard for a machine to be called "intelligent". The idea was that a computer could be said to "think" if a human interrogator could not tell it apart, through conversation, from a human being.
Shortly before his death, due to cyanide poisoning, he had created a computer chess program, and tried to implement it on a Ferranti Mark 1, but lacking enough power, the computer was unable to execute the program.
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