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Turing, Alan Mathison
Turing, Alan Mathison, 1912-54, British mathematician and computer theorist. His early work in predicate logic led to a proof (1937) that some mathematical problems are not susceptible to solution by automated computation. During World War II, he was instrumental in breaking the German Enigma cipher. After the war he helped design computers and did groundwork in the field of ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
Alan Turing was found dead at age 42. He had published his seminal paper, "On Computable Numbers," in 1936, as well as posing significant questions about judging "human intelligence" and programming and working on the design of several computers during the course of his career. A mathematical genius, Turing proved instrumental in code-breaking efforts during World War II. His application of logic to that realm would emerge even more significantly in his development of the concept of a "universal machine."
Alan Turing solved one of the most crucial mathematical problems of the modern era at the age of twenty-four, creating the theoretical basis for computation in the process. Then he became the top code-breaker in the world--when he wasn't bicycling around wearing a gas mask or running twenty miles with an alarm clock tied around his waist. If it hadn't been for the success of Turing's top-secret wartime mission, the Allies might have lost Worlds War II. After the war, he created the field of artificial intelligence and laid down the foundations of the art and science of programming. He was notoriously disheveled, socially withdrawn, sometimes loud and abrasive, and even his friends thought that he carried nonconformity to weird extremes. At the age of forty-two, he committed suicide, hounded cruelly by the same government he helped save.
-_Tools For Thought_ by Howard Rheingold
Turing was known for riding his bicycle with a gas mask on. He claimed it relieved his allergies. Also, he ran long distances with an alarm clock tied to his waist to time himself.
According to Sadie Plant, in her book _Zeros And Ones_, Turing commited suicide by eating an apple that was laced with cyanide (but this might have been unintentional as apparently he was notioriously bad at washing his hands after scientific experiments) and, he was found dead with an apple with a couple of "bytes" taken out of it, and since the rainbow is the symbol for homosexuality, which is why he was harrassed into suicide, the rainbow apple with bytes missing for the Apple Mac symbol is actually a homage to Turing.
Turing test, a procedure to test whether a computer is capable of humanlike thought. As proposed (1950) by British mathematician Alan TURING, a person sits with a teletype machine isolated from two correspondents-one is another person, one is a computer. By asking questions through the teletype and studying the responses, the isolated person tries to determine which correspondent is human and which the computer. If that proves impossible, the computer is credited with having passed the test.
first mention of Alan Turing in Usenet:
From: eagle!cw (eagle!cw)
Subject: What Is The Turing Test & Where Can I Find It?
Newsgroups: net.followup, net.misc
Date: 1982-11-30 23:45:57 PST
The Turing Test is a test for the existence of intelligence in an unknown device. Briefly summarized, it attaches you, via teletypes or another disguising communication medium, to two purported intelligences. One is known to be human; the other is the candidate under test. You may hold any conversation with the two devices. If, at the end, you can distinguish the human from the candidate intelligence, the candidate intelligence is deemed to have failed; it is not, in fact, human intelligent.
Of course, you must run this test several times because you have a 50% chance just by guessing.
The reference is to
Alan Turing. Can A Machine Think? Reprinted in
James R. Newman, The World of Mathematics, Simon and
Schuster, 1956. Originally in the journal Mind in 1950.
Reprinted many other places as well.
This paper is essential reading for anyone who even wants to participate in a discussion of thought, much less of thought and computers.