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<b>TURING, ALAN MATHISON</b><br> TURING, ALAN MATHISON (19121954), British mathematician, logician, and pioneer computer scientist. Turing made a significant advance in the fields of symbolic logic and the foundations of mathematics by introducing the notion of an abstract machine (now called the "Turing machine") that would seek to prove propositions in a mechanical way. The Turing machine turned out to be a blueprint for the modern digital computer, revealing both its nature and logical limitations fully a decade before any such machine was constructed. For the rest of his life, Turing continued to study the relationship between the abstract world of mathematics and the mechanical world of engineering, between formal logic and computing machines that could embody that logic. He brought together in his work the disparate elements that now form the basis of computer science: symbolic logic, numerical analysis, electrical engineering, and a mechanical philosophy of the human mind. Born in London on June 23, 1912, Turing received a typical uppermiddleclass education. He attended Sherborne School and then Cambridge University, where his mathematical abilities were soon appreciated. He was elected a Fellow of King's College in 1935. In 1937 he published his most important paper, "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem," in which he used his Turing machines to show that there could be no formal, purely mechanical procedure for deciding whether a given proposition was derivable from a set of mathematical axioms. Along with Kurt GĂ¶del, Turing dealt a final blow to the hope of David Hilbert and his followers that all mathematics could be expressed as a set of axioms and derived theorems. Because the Turing ma chine was an abstract computing machine, Turing had also shown that there was a class of logical problems that no digital computer could ever solve. During World War II, Turing worked for the British codebreaking organization at Bletchley Park. He helped to design an electromechanical device for deciphering the settings of the German Enigma code machine, and for some time he had the prime responsibility for the naval Enigma division, which monitored communications to and from the Uboat patrols in the Atlantic. After the war he designed an ambitious computer to be called ACE, the Automatic Computing Engine, at the National Physical Laboratory. When work on this machine slowed for bureaucratic reasons, he accepted a Readership at the University at Manchester, where he made use of a smaller computer, the Mark I, that was already functioning. In the late 1940's he also began work on the mathematical description of biological growth and development. Turing believed that the computer could be programmed to imitate and thereby explain human intelligence, and expressed his belief in various talks and interviews and in the paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," published in Mind in 1950. This paper was a seminal work in the field of computer science, now known as artificial intelligence. In 1952 Turing, a homosexual, was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to hormone injections that were supposed to "cure" him. On June 7, 1954, in a depression perhaps induced by the chemicals administered to him, he poisoned himself with cyanide at his home near Manchester.
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Prof. Ashay Dharwadker