Alan Turing, The Man Who Dreamed Up Computers

Born in 1912, Alan Turing displayed signs of mathematical genius from an early age. He conceptualized the ideas behind computer algorithms, imagining a hypothetical machine that could write and read different symbols. This idea is now known as a Turing machine, and is useful for describing computation. In addition to being a major force in the Allied win of World War II by breaking the Nazi Enigma codes, Turing also invented the Turing test, which is a way of determining the presence of artificial intelligence.


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An Illustrated History of Alan Turing

Hear the life story of Alan Turing, perhaps the world's most famous mathematician.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. During WWII, Alan Turing designed a machine that deciphered the German Enigma codes, which were thought to be unbreakable. 00:44

  2. The Turing test states that if an interrogator cannot tell whether they're talking to a human or a machine, then the subject is intelligent. 02:20

  3. In 1952, Alan Turing was prosecuted for gross indecency due to being an openly gay man. 05:34

What Is The Turing Test?

Learn about Turing's "Imitation Game."

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Author Walter Isaacson on Alan Turing

Find out Alan Turing's thoughts on machine intelligence.