Alan Turing: The grandfather of computer science

29 Alan Turing from RS

Alan Turing by Elliott & Fry 29 March 1951© National Portrait Gallery, London (Academic Licence)

Alan Turing has contributed in innumerable ways to the world around us. He worked on very practical code-breaking projects at Bletchley Park during World War II as well as complex ideas which underpin theoretical computer science.

He devised the ‘Turing Test’, a simple method to try and work out something very complicated. The test helps us work out if  ‘intelligent behaviour’ is shown by a computer all based on whether you can have a sensible conversation with it. Is that partner a machine or a person, is it an artificial intelligence? Find out more here on cs4fn.

Alan Turing also put forward ideas on what a computer is and defined the ‘Turing Machine’ a mathematical model that defines a machine, such as a computer, which manipulates symbols according to rules. Read more about a chocolate version of this machine on cs4fn.

Read more about Alan’s amazing work on the  cs4fn website.


CLASSROOM IDEAS

Computing: Find out about Alan Turing’s life and the contribution he made to both theoretical computer science and to cryptography.