Computing History

Men Who Changed the Computing World

Alan Turing

Alan Turing was an English mathematician, wartime code-breaker and the man who made the computer. Without him, modern day computing would not be the same.

He started off his career in Cambridge University, teaching quantum mechanics and mathematics. It was there that he developed the 'Turing machine' or the idea that 'automatic computation cannot solve all mathematical problems'. This 'Turing machine' is thought to be the main thing that all computers are based on.

He went to America to lecture in Princeton University, and then when he came back in 1938 he started secretly working part-time for the British code-breaking unit. When WWII was announced, he began to work full-time in this unit. Here, he was involved in breaking German codes and informing the Allies of what the Germans were going to do next. He and several other men designed a computer known as a 'bombe' that could also decode the German messages.

When the war had been won, Turing turned his mind to designing another machine that would logically process information and data. This was to become the well-known computer.