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  • About Alan Turing

  • About Alan Turing

    Turing: The Father Of Computer Science
    Alan Turing is considered by many to be the father of Computer Science. Turing was an English mathematician who started his career as a logician. He was the originator, in the 1930s, of the "Turing machine", an important model of a general purpose computer, one which he and others have used extensively in proving fundamental limits and behaviors of all computers. He was one of the original explorers of the concept of "a universal machine", that is, a computer that could compute, in principle, anything that any other computer could compute.

    Not Everything Can Be Solved On A Computer
    Perhaps Turing's most important contribution was his statement of and proof of the Halting Problem- which showed that there are some easily stated, unambiguous, easily formalized problems that are impossible for any computer, ever, to successfully solve. For example, it is impossible to write a program that can read as input any other program X, along with X's input, and in every case indicate whether program X will terminate successfully. This "negative" result is entirely in keeping with the scientific trend of the past century, which on the one hand, identifies fundamental limits in so many areas (speed, measurement, mathematical systems, for example) while on the other simultaneously opens great new opportunities for scientific endeavor.

    Fighting For Liberty
    Turing put his science to work in the 1940s to help the British war effort against the Nazis. He brought to bear his computational insights to successfully break the German U-boat codes. The thanks he got from the British government was to be hounded to death in the 1950s for his homosexuality. 55 years later, the British government apologized for its mistreatment of one of the heroes of the second world war.

    Alan Turing's Craft
    The phrase "Turing's craft" can be understood in more than one way. For example, Alan Turing's wit (his intelligence, his "craft") played a role in defeating the Nazis.

    On the other hand, by showing that universal computers were possible (and by showing their few limits), Turing paved the way for the construction of the first real electronic computers in the 1940s. He himself was involved in their construction in Britain and in developing the first programs for those machines. Without being unfair to the many other greats (von Neumann, Mauchly, etc.), one could say with some justice that it was Alan Turing who pioneered and made possible the craft of programming.

    Programming, then, is Turing's craft.

    But why do we call programming "a craft"? Because programming requires both art and science, aesthetics and calculation, a precise understanding of one's tools and the guided experience in their use.

    Providing that experience - essential for learning any craft - is what Turing's Craft, Inc. is all about. You can see how we provide guided programming experience for yourself- by checking out our demo page.
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