Computer History and Technology

Alan Turing and Tim Berners-Lee

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Alan Turing

Alan Turing completed a theory in his rooms at Cambridge University. He was only 24 years old. He made a machine which could be taught to think. The machine read symbols printed on a tape.

Alan was a British pioneering computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, mathematical biologist, and marathon and a distance runner.

Alan Turing was born on 23 June, 1912, in London. His father was in the Indian Civil Service and Turing's parents lived in India until his father's retirement in 1926. Turing and his brother stayed with friends and relatives in England. Turing studied mathematics at Cambridge University, and subsequently taught there, working in the burgeoning world of quantum mechanics. It was at Cambridge that he developed the proof which states that automatic computation cannot solve all mathematical problems. This concept, also known as the Turing machine, is considered the basis for the modern theory of computation.

In 1936, Turing went to Princeton University in America, returning to England in 1938. He began to work secretly part-time for the British cryptanalytic department, the Government Code and Cypher School. On the outbreak of war he took up full-time work at its headquarters, Bletchley Park.

Here he played a vital role in deciphering the messages encrypted by the German Enigma machine, which provided vital intelligence for the Allies. He took the lead in a team that designed a machine known as a bombe that successfully decoded German messages. He became a well-known and rather eccentric figure at Bletchley.

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Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee is an English computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He made a proposal for an information management system in March 1989, and he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol client and server via the Internet.

Tim was born on 8th June 1955, he is now 55 years old.

He invented The World Wide Web, HTML, Hypertext Transfer Protocol and a Web Browser.

Tim also wrote a book about the internet called, Weaving the Web: the past, present and future of The World Wide Web by its inventor.

In 1980, while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, he first described the concept of a global system, based on the concept of 'hypertext', that would allow researchers anywhere to share information. He also built a prototype called 'Enquire'.

In 1984, Berners Lee's returned to CERN, which was also home to a major European Internet node. In 1989, Berners Lee published a paper called 'Information Management: A Proposal' in which he married up hypertext with the Internet, to create a system for sharing and distributing information not just within a company, but globally. He named it the World Wide Web.