|Born: 23 June 1912 in London, England.
Died: 7 June 1954 (aged 41) Cheshire, England.
|Fields: Computer Science
Alan Turing was British mathematician, logician and computer scientist, widely regarded as the father of computer science for formalizing the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation”
During World War II, Turing was head of Hut 8, a British intelligence unit tasked with cryptanalysis of the German navy. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German cyphers, very possibly making him one of the first people to fit the definition of hacker. After the war, he designed ACE, one of the first concepts for a stored-program computer.
In the late 1940s, Turing branched out beyond computer science when he became interested in mathematical biology while working at the Manchester University’s computing laboratory.
Turing was prosecuted for his homosexuality in 1952, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the UK. He opted for chemical castration as an alternative to prison. He died 2 years later from cyanide poisoning, which was officially determined a suicide. In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for the way Turing was treated. There is currently a bill before the House of Lords to grant Turing a statutory pardon.
Turing’s legacy also includes the Turing Award, an annual prize given to ”an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community” by the Associaton of Computing Machinery.
1999: Entry in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th century
2002: 21st in BBC’s 100 Greatest Britons poll