Computer History and Technology

Alan Turing and Tim Berners-lee

Alan Turing

Alan Turing was a British pioneering computer scientist. He was born 23rd June 1912 and he died 12th June 1954. Alan died when he was 41. Alan was an English Mathematic code-breaker. 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.

After the war, Turing turned his thoughts to the development of a machine that would logically process information. He worked first for the National Physical Laboratory (1945-1948). His plans were dismissed by his colleagues and the lab lost out on being the first to design a digital computer. It is thought that Turing's blueprint would have secured them the honour, as his machine was capable of computation speeds higher than the others. In 1949, he went to Manchester University where he directed the computing laboratory and developed a body of work that helped to form the basis for the field of artificial intelligence. In 1951 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

He committed suicide on 7 June, 1954.

Tim Berners-Lee

Timothy John Berners Lee was born on 8 June 1955 and grew up in London. He studied physics at Oxford University and became a software engineer.

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.