Alan Turing

Alan Turing Memorial Closer
A statue of Alan Turing
A rebuild of a machine made by Alan Turing

Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS (London, 23 June 1912 – Wilmslow, Cheshire, 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician and computer scientist. He was born in Maida Vale, London.

Young Life and Family

Alan Turing was born in Maida Vale, London. His father was part of a family of merchants from Scotland. His mother, Ethel Sara, was the daughter of an engineer.


Turing went to St. Michael's, a school at 20 Charles Road, St Leonards-on-sea, when he was six years old.


Turing was one of the people who worked on the first computers. He was the first person to think of using a computer to do things that were too hard for a person to do. He created the Turing machine in 1936. The machine was imaginary, but it included the idea of a computer program.

Turing was interested in artificial intelligence. He proposed the Turing test, to say when a machine could be called "intelligent". A computer could be said to "think" if a human talking with it could not tell it was a machine.

During World War II, Turing worked to break German ciphers (secret messages). Using cryptanalysis, he helped to break the codes of the Enigma machine. After that, he solved other German codes.

From 1945 to 1947, Turing worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) at the National Physical Laboratory. He presented a paper on 19 February 1946. That paper was "the first detailed design of a stored-program computer". Although it was possible to build ACE, there were delays in starting the project. In late 1947 he returned to Cambridge for a sabbatical year. While he was at Cambridge, the Pilot ACE was built without him. It ran its first program on 10 May 1950.


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