## Alan Turing (1912-1954) - *Father of Computer Science and inventor of the Turing Machine*

Turing machines are the first ever tools to be able to fully compute virtually any mathematical operation possible that can be solved using an algorithm. First invented by Alan Turing in 1931, these machines use the algorithm concept, meaning a step-by-step procedure, to solve mathematical operations such as functions and finding the values of unknown variables.

Born in 1912 in the UK, Alan Turing invented a machine he named after himself; the Turing Machine. A life-scaled application of concepts seen in class such as algorithms and matrices, this machine is the ancestor of our computers.

Turing was very intelligent growing up. He studied mathematics at both King’s College in Cambridge, England and Princeton University in New Jersey, combining his knowledge with that of other great scientists such as Albert Einstein, John Von Neumann and Alonzo Church.

Turing Machines combine a roll of tape in movement, on which is to marked a series of ones (1) and zeros (0), a dry-erase marker, an eraser and a small electric motor. The machine can either write a number or erase a number. The tape slides through the marker, the eraser and the scanner, which reads what is written on the tape and emits the information through an electrical current, to be then interpreted and computed. Each step of the computation is collected and conserved at the other end of the machine on a “used” paper roll. Just like the Gauss-Jordan method, the Turing machine uses a step-by-step process. This machine is the ancestor of modern day calculators and computation devices, including Microsoft Excel, Wolfram Alpha, and many more, who all use algorithms to solve an input equation.

Turing also invented LU decomposition, a standard method of solving matrix equations. This method and the Gaussian elimination method are the two forms of calculations used today by most computers. The method consists in factoring a square matrix as being a product of the two triangular matrices made of the entries located above and those located below the diagonal of the square matrix.

Following his persecution for homosexuality, Turing committed suicide by poisoning an apple with cyanide. Recently, a petition was signed by millions of British people for the pardon of the treatment of Alan Turing by the British government. Turing is now referred to as the “Father of computer science".

Turing was very intelligent growing up. He studied mathematics at both King’s College in Cambridge, England and Princeton University in New Jersey, combining his knowledge with that of other great scientists such as Albert Einstein, John Von Neumann and Alonzo Church.

Turing Machines combine a roll of tape in movement, on which is to marked a series of ones (1) and zeros (0), a dry-erase marker, an eraser and a small electric motor. The machine can either write a number or erase a number. The tape slides through the marker, the eraser and the scanner, which reads what is written on the tape and emits the information through an electrical current, to be then interpreted and computed. Each step of the computation is collected and conserved at the other end of the machine on a “used” paper roll. Just like the Gauss-Jordan method, the Turing machine uses a step-by-step process. This machine is the ancestor of modern day calculators and computation devices, including Microsoft Excel, Wolfram Alpha, and many more, who all use algorithms to solve an input equation.

Turing also invented LU decomposition, a standard method of solving matrix equations. This method and the Gaussian elimination method are the two forms of calculations used today by most computers. The method consists in factoring a square matrix as being a product of the two triangular matrices made of the entries located above and those located below the diagonal of the square matrix.

Following his persecution for homosexuality, Turing committed suicide by poisoning an apple with cyanide. Recently, a petition was signed by millions of British people for the pardon of the treatment of Alan Turing by the British government. Turing is now referred to as the “Father of computer science".

## References

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*Turing Machines*, in Introduction to programming in Java. Princeton University Facultyof Computer Science. Princeton University : Princeton, NJ. Information retrieved from

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