Wednesday, October 30, 2013
As part of the commemoration of the centennial of Alan Turing's birth, London's Museum of Science held a special exhibit on his life and work. Students studying introductory computer science with Dr. Carolyn Cuff in London for the Fall semester had the chance to visit the exhibit.
Alan Turing was a leader at in the development of the Enigma, a codebreaking device used to decipher German messages during WWII. His Turing machine, the theoretical machine with that potentially infinite paper tape has been explained to numerous computer science students. Alonzo Church, his Ph.D. thesis advisor at Princeton credited the Turing machine explanation as better than his in the argument of what has become known as the Church-Turing theorem - well-defined mathematical problems exist that cannot be solved by effective methods. Turing is considered to have done the earliest substantial work in artificial intelligence. Google sponsored the exhibit in London with a note saying, "We wouldn't be here today without Alan Turing's work." You may have missed the exhibit but there's an excellent website on the life and work of Turing at http://www.alanturing.net.