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.

An Illustrated History of Alan Turing

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

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."

Author Walter Isaacson on Alan Turing

Find out Alan Turing's thoughts on machine intelligence.

Written by Curiosity Staff June 18, 2015

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