Also known as the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, Alan Turing was an England-based mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist. Alan Turing was intelligent by birth and showed signs of genius.
He attended a day school at the age of 6. School staff including the headmistress admitted his early talent and accepted the extraordinary traits he had.
Tiring enrolled in Sherborne, a boarding school. As soon as the term began, 1926 General Strike, a strike to prevent wage reductions and worsening conditions for locked-out coal miners, took place. But he was so determined to attend the school that he rode his bicycle, alone and covered a distance of 92 km.
In Sherborne, he faced difficulties, as he was more interested in mathematics and physics, but teachers at his school wanted him to study and focus on classics, saying it is necessary to be ‘educated. Still, he continued to study, focusing more on mathematics and physics.
He could solve advanced problems without even studying elementary calculus. During this period, he encountered the death of his only friend, Christopher Morcom, which caused him great sorrow. He overcame that grief by working hard on that part of mathematics and physics that he used to study with his friend.
Alan Turing enrolled in King’s College, Cambridge, and received first-class honours in mathematics.
Alan Turing became the leading member in the cracking of German ciphers at Bletchley Park, the principal center of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War.
Asa Briggs, a historian, and wartime codebreaker suggested that only a genius can work at Bletchley and Turing is one of them.
Alan Turing started working part-time with the British code-breaking committee, Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) and worked side by side with Dilly Knox, a senior code-breaker at GC&CS.
Turing specified an electromechanical machine, the bombe, which was more efficient than the Polish bomba kryptologiczna, and it could break the Enigma code more effectively. He achieved this within a few weeks after his arrival at Bletchley Park.
Although they could crack all the signals, Turing and other cryptanalysts working with him faced problems in translating all the signals because of limited staff and bombs.
They wrote a letter to Winston Churchill, who was serving as the president at that time, explaining to him the situation and demanding their requirements to be fulfilled. They received an instant response and their requirements were given extreme priority.
As soon as all their demands were met, they began working hard and by the end of the war, they had developed more than 200 bombes, which were being operated.
Alan Turing’s work shortened the war by two years in Europe and saved more than 14 million lives.
After the war, Turing was employed at the National Physical Laboratory and designed the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE). Later he worked at the Victoria University of Manchester and developed Manchester computers.
Turing was never completely perceived in his home country during his lifetime since a lot of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act.
He was prosecuted for homosexual acts. He was given chemical castration treatment. He died before turning 42, from cyanide poisoning. People suspect that it was a suicide and some say it was accidental poisoning.