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Alan Mathison Turing

Alan Mathison Turing (June 23 1912 – June 7 1954) was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist and philosopher. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalization of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

Turing's famous computer was a machine made of logic: imaginary tape, arbitrary symbols. It had all the time in the world and unbounded memory, and it could do anything expressible in steps and operations. It could even judge the validity of a proof in the system of "Principia Mathematica"

The original question "Can machines think?" Turing said, "I believe to be too meaningless to deserve discussion. Nevertheless I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted"

 Turing did not live to see how apt his prophecy was... In 1952 Turing was arrested for the crime of homosexuality, tried, convicted, stripped of his security clearance, and subjected by the British authorities to a humiliating, emasculating program of estrogen injections. In 1954 he took his own life...