Alan Turing – Math, History, Computer Science, and Tolerance

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If you’re looking to have an interdisciplinary discussion with your High School students, you could do a lot worse than to look at the life and times of Alan Turing.

Turing was a brilliant mathematician and one of the most historically influential figures in the history of computing. He  also helped the allies win World War II.

Even if you haven’t heard of Alan Turing, his influence can be seen in many of the daily internet functions you perform.  If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ve most likely taken a “Turing Test”to prove you’re human and not a machine.

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This test is derived from Turing’s work on machine intelligence, work which has was at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence advances we see in modern computing and robotics (see http://www.teq.com/nao-robot).  The test is sometimes referred to as a CAPTCHA test, which is an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”.

During World War II, Turing worked at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, where his work was instrumental in breaking the German “Enigma Codes”.  The video clip below, from the movie “Enigma”, is a dramatization of Turing’s introduction to the Enigma machine.

 

Here are links to a few websites on Alan Turing’s life and accomplishments:

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One Response to Alan Turing – Math, History, Computer Science, and Tolerance

  1. Rocio Santos-Carrillo says: