Today in Tech – 1954

This day in tech history is a very sad one, as it was on this day in 1954 that English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneer Alan Turing passed away. Turing is largely considered the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He originally conceived the idea of a machine that could turn thought processes into binary numbers. He also worked at Britain’s codebreaking centre Bletchley Park during World War II, leading a team that was responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He played a pivotal role in deciphering encrypted German communications, giving the Allies the critical information they needed to defeat the Nazis.

In 1952 Turing was prosecuted for homosexual acts, which at the time was a legally-punishable offense. At the threat of imprisonment, he agreed to a chemical castration treatment instead. Two years later on this day he was found dead in what appeared to be a suicide through cyanide poisoning. In 2013 Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon, and the Alan Turing law is now the informal term for the 2017 law that retroactively pardons those cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.

Alan Turing - Image taken from princeton.edu

Alan Turing – Image taken from princeton.edu

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