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.


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

This work was supported by the Institute of Coding, which is supported by the Office for Students (OfS).