Alan Mathison Turing was born on 23 June 1912 and is widely considered to be the father of artificial intelligence. He was a computer scientist, mathematician, logician and cryptanalyst and provided the formalization of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation”. The Turing Machine played a significant role in the development of the modern computer.
During World War II he worked for the GCCS at Britain’s code-breaking center where he was leader of Hut 8 and responsible for German Naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers.
From 1945 to 1947 Alan Mathison Turing lived in London where he worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine). On 10 May 1950 the ACE executed its first program. In 1948 he also invented the LU decomposition method that is used for solving matrix equations.
In 1949 Alan Mathison Turing became Deputy Director of the Computing Laboratory at the University of Manchester where he worked on software for one of the earliest stored-program computers, the Manchester Mark 1. During this time he proposed an experiment which became known as the Turing Test which attempts to define a standard for a machine to be called intelligent. He suggested that rather than building a program to simulate the adult mind, it would be better rather to produce a simpler one to simulate a child’s mind. A reversed form of the Turing Test is widely used on the Internet called the CAPTCHA test that determines whether the user is a human or not.
In 1952 Alan Mathison Turing was criminally prosecuted for homosexuality, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the United Kingdom. He died 2 years later at the age of 41 and his death was concluded to be suicide by cyanide poisoning. When his body was discovered an apple lay half-eaten beside his bed. It is speculated that this was the means by which the fatal dose of cyanide was consumed, but his mother believed that it was accidental, caused by his careless storage of laboratory chemicals. Some people have suggested that he was re-enacting a scene from his favorite fairy tale Snow White.
For years it has been rumored that Apple’s iconic logo, a solid white apple missing a bite on one side, was inspired by circumstances surrounding the death of Alan Mathison Turing, but graphic designer and creator of the logo, Rob Janoff, calls it a “wonderful urban legend”.
On 10 September 2009 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for the way he was treated.