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Alan Turing

Birthdate: 23. June 1912
Date of death: 7. June 1954
Other names: एलन ट्यूरिंग, Алан Матисон Тьюринг

Alan Mathison Turing was an English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist.

Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre that produced Ultra intelligence. For a time he led Hut 8, the section which was responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Here he devised a number of techniques for speeding the breaking of German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish bombe method, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. Counterfactual history is difficult with respect to the effect Ultra intelligence had on the length of the war, but at the upper end it has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by more than two years and saved over fourteen million lives.

After the war, Turing worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the ACE, among the first designs for a stored-program computer. In 1948 Turing joined Max Newman's Computing Machine Laboratory at the Victoria University of Manchester, where he helped develop the Manchester computers and became interested in mathematical biology. He wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis, and predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, first observed in the 1960s.

Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, when by the Labouchere Amendment, "gross indecency" was criminal in the UK. He accepted chemical castration treatment, with DES, as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined his death as suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is also consistent with accidental poisoning. In 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated." Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013. The Alan Turing law is now an informal term for a 2017 law in the United Kingdom that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.

Works

Quotes Alan Turing

Citát „Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.“

„Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.“

—  Alan Turing

Variant: Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.

„These questions replace our original, "Can machines think?"“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950)
Context: "Can machines think?"... The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the 'imitation game." It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart front the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either "X is A and Y is B" or "X is B and Y is A." The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B... We now ask the question, "What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?" Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, "Can machines think?"

„Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.“

—  Alan Turing, Systems of Logic Based on Ordinals

"Systems of Logic Based on Ordinals," section 11: The purpose of ordinal logics (1938), published in Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, series 2, vol. 45 (1939)
In a footnote to the first sentence, Turing added: "We are leaving out of account that most important faculty which distinguishes topics of interest from others; in fact, we are regarding the function of the mathematician as simply to determine the truth or falsity of propositions."
Context: Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity. The activity of the intuition consists in making spontaneous judgements which are not the result of conscious trains of reasoning... The exercise of ingenuity in mathematics consists in aiding the intuition through suitable arrangements of propositions, and perhaps geometrical figures or drawings.

„We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), p. 460.
Source: Computing machinery and intelligence

„I am not very impressed with theological arguments whatever they may be used to support. Such arguments have often been found unsatisfactory in the past.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), pp. 443-444.
Context: I am not very impressed with theological arguments whatever they may be used to support. Such arguments have often been found unsatisfactory in the past. In the time of Galileo it was argued that the texts, "And the sun stood still... and hasted not to go down about a whole day" (Joshua x. 13) and "He laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not move at any time" (Psalm cv. 5) were an adequate refutation of the Copernican theory.

„The view that machines cannot give rise to surprises is due, I believe, to a fallacy to which philosophers and mathematicians are particularly subject. This is the assumption that as soon as a fact is presented to a mind all consequences of that fact spring into the mind simultaneously with it. It is a very useful assumption under many circumstances, but one too easily forgets that it is false.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), p. 451.
Context: The view that machines cannot give rise to surprises is due, I believe, to a fallacy to which philosophers and mathematicians are particularly subject. This is the assumption that as soon as a fact is presented to a mind all consequences of that fact spring into the mind simultaneously with it. It is a very useful assumption under many circumstances, but one too easily forgets that it is false. A natural consequence of doing so is that one then assumes that there is no virtue in the mere working out of consequences from data and general principles.

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„The majority of them seem to be "sub-critical," i.e., to correspond in this analogy to piles of sub-critical size. An idea presented to such a mind will on average give rise to less than one idea in reply. A smallish proportion are super-critical. An idea presented to such a mind may give rise to a whole "theory" consisting of secondary, tertiary and more remote ideas.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), p. 454.
Context: Another simile would be an atomic pile of less than critical size: an injected idea is to correspond to a neutron entering the pile from without. Each such neutron will cause a certain disturbance which eventually dies away. If, however, the size of the pile is sufficiently increased, the disturbance caused by such an incoming neutron will very likely go on and on increasing until the whole pile is destroyed. Is there a corresponding phenomenon for minds, and is there one for machines? There does seem to be one for the human mind. The majority of them seem to be "sub-critical," i. e., to correspond in this analogy to piles of sub-critical size. An idea presented to such a mind will on average give rise to less than one idea in reply. A smallish proportion are super-critical. An idea presented to such a mind may give rise to a whole "theory" consisting of secondary, tertiary and more remote ideas. Animals minds seem to be very definitely sub-critical. Adhering to this analogy we ask, "Can a machine be made to be super-critical?"

„Instruction tables will have to be made up by mathematicians with computing experience and perhaps a certain puzzle-solving ability. There need be no real danger of it ever becoming a drudge, for any processes that are quite mechanical may be turned over to the machine itself.“

—  Alan Turing

"Proposed Electronic Calculator" (1946), a report for National Physical Laboratory, Teddington; published in A. M. Turing's ACE Report of 1946 and Other Papers (1986), edited by B. E. Carpenter and R. W. Doran, and in The Collected Works of A. M. Turing (1992), edited by D. C. Ince, Vol. 3.

„Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.“

—  Alan Turing

Epigram to Robin Gandy (1954); reprinted in Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: the Enigma (Vintage edition 1992), p. 513.

„A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine.“

—  Alan Turing, Intelligent Machinery

"Intelligent Machinery: A Report by A. M. Turing," (Summer 1948), submitted to the National Physical Laboratory (1948) and published in Key Papers: Cybernetics, ed. C. R. Evans and A. D. J. Robertson (1968) and, in variant form, in Machine Intelligence 5, ed. B. Meltzer and D. Michie (1969).

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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