Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the founding father of computation: Alan Turing

Alan Turing (1912-1954) has made a unique impact on the history of computing, computer science, artificial intelligence and the mathematical theory of computability. His most original invention is the hypothetical Turing Machine. As Turing himself said: "A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine."

Everything that can in principle be computed mechanically, can be computed by a Turing Machine. If a Turing Machine cannot compute a problem, than it is not computable. The concept of a Turing Machine that uses only 0's and 1's in it's computations is the conceptual basis of every present day computer.

Today would have been Alan Turing's 98'th birthday, if he had not died in 1954, at the age of 41. To celebrate this day, Stephen Wolfram has written an interesting blog post: