Essay on the life of Alan Turing and a discription of his life work.

Essay by JAMESB0NDUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2004

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Alan Turing

Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954) was a British mathematician who pioneered the basics of computer theory. Alan was born London and attended school at both Cambridge and Princeton universities. In 1936, Turing published a paper called "On Computable Numbers," which introduced the concept of the Turing machine. The Turing machine was a theoretical computing device, which could theoretically perform any mathematical calculation. Soon after, he chose to study artificial intelligence and biological forms. He proposed a method called the Turing test, to determine whether machines had the ability to think. During World War II, Turing worked as a cryptographer for the British Foreign Office. In 1951, Turing was named a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1952, he began to publish his work on the mathematical aspects of pattern and form development in living organisms. In 1954, he apparently committed suicide, probably in reaction to medical treatments he was forced to receive in order to "fix" his of homosexuality.

Turing Test

Of all of Turing's accomplishments, the Turing Test was one of the best noted. The Turing Test was developed during the 1950's. Basically, it is a test for artificial intelligence. Turing concluded that a machine could be seen as being intelligent if it could "fool" a human into believing it was human. The original Turing Test involved a human interrogator using a computer terminal, which was in turn connected to two additional and unseen, terminals. At one of the "unseen" terminals is a human; at the other is a piece of computer software or hardware written to act and respond as if it were human. The interrogator would converse with both human and computer. If, after a certain amount of time (Turing proposed five minutes, but the exact amount of time is generally considered irrelevant), the interrogator...