The driving force behind modern computers, Alan Turing was born a hundred years ago. He launched the digital age, founded the fields of computer science and artificial intelligence, and helped the British win WWII by cracking the Nazi "Enigma" codes. He was persecuted by British authorities for the crime of being homosexual, and committed suicide at age 41. His life ended tragically, but his brilliance lives in the computers we use every day. We celebrate the Alan Turing Year.
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In the 1940s and 1950s, a group of brilliant engineers led by John von Neumann gathered in Princeton, New Jersey with the joint goal of realizing Alan Turing’s theoretical universal machine-a thought experiment that scientists use to understand the limits of mechanical computation. As a result of their fervent work, the crucial advancements that dominated 20th century technology emerged. In Turing’s Cathedral, technology historian George Dyson recreates the scenes of focused experimentation, mathematical insight, and creative genius that broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things-giving us computers, digital television, modern genetics, and models of stellar evolution. Also a philosopher of science, Dyson’s previous books include Baidarka, Darwin Among the Machines, and Project Orion. (recorded 3/13/2012)
Shorts: The Turing Problem — 100 years ago this year, the man who first conceived of the computer age was born. His name was Alan Turing. He was also a math genius, a hero of World War II and he is widely considered to be the father of artificial intelligence. But the world wasn’t kind to Alan Turing. In 1952, he was arrested and convicted under a British law that prohibited "acts of gross indecency between men, in public or private."
Codes! Axis Cryptography in WWII — In this special episode co-hosted by TechStuff’s Jonathan Strickland, the focus is on the codes, cipher machines, and cryptologists of World War II. Tune in to learn more about the Enigma Machine, Alan Turing, Code Talkers and more.