Alan Turing

Who was he?


  • Introduction
  • Humble Beginnings
  • The First Computer
  • Evolution of the machine
  • The Turing Test
  • Helpful Links and Videos


Alan Turing was a very influential computer scienctist. His discoverys and inventions have shaped the world we live in. But who WAS he?

Humble Beginnings

Alan Turing was born on 23 June 1912 of Ethel Sara Turing and Julius Mathison (right) in a nursing home in Paddington, London. He grew up in London with his older brother John, in several foster homes while his father was fighting in India. His scientific interests were apparent from 12 years old, in fact his mother was terrified he would not be accepted into the English Public School. Despite this, he was accepted into Sherlborne School. He was given a book as a child which fuelled his scientific interests, called Natural Wonders Every Child Should Know.

Evolution of the Machine

Alan Turing had changed computers as we know it. The computer you are reading this from has evolved from his ideas.

The First Computer

After graduating from Cambridge, Turing worked at Princeton in the US, where he began work on what was later to become the first digital computer programme - the "Turing Machine". His revolutionary idea was for a machine that would read a series of ones and zeros from a tape. It would be a kind of primitive program. But it was not until nine years later that technology had advanced sufficiently to transfer these ideas into engineering. His intelligence and mathematical and engineering skills made him a worthy computer scientist during the war for cracking German codes. At 33 he started work at The National Physics Laboratory (left).

The Turing Test

The Turing Test is a test of the computers ability. It tests the AI (artifical intelligence) of the computer.