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Alan Turing is finally being honoured for his work, with a statue in Manchester. There’s an interesting follow-up mail from Mike O’Dell there, too: “the notes go on at length about the need for subroutines, subroutine libraries for common functions, and he even invented debugging and the concept of a debugger program. he also described what we today called a relocating assembler and linker – inventing the whole notion of “relocation” as an “obvious” aside.”

ALAN TURING, the national hero who broke the Nazi’s enigma code and is credited with turning the tide of the World War Two, is to be honoured with a life-size statute.

The bronze monument, which will be unveiled today, comes almost 50 years after the brilliant scientist was driven to suicide by persecution over his homosexuality. Five years after its inception, the pounds 20,000 sculpture of Turing sitting on a bench holding an apple will be displayed in Manchester’s Sackville Park in the city centre.

The mathematical genius became a national hero after his involvement in World War Two, he also helped invent the inaugural computer, at Manchester University, but was persecuted and prosecuted for his homosexuality. He committed suicide in 1954 by eating a poisoned apple.

Many believe Turing has never been recognised properly for his outstanding contribution to science. But Glyn Hughes, the statue’s creator, is confident that Turing has finally earned his rightful place in the history books. Hughes, from Adlington near Chorley, said: “It’s stunningly realistic. I’m sure it will go a dirty black over time, but it looks wonderful today.”

GRAPHIC: Glyn Hughes’ sculpture of the wartime hero, Alan Turing, will
be unveiled in Manchester today Paul Burrows

Via: David Farber (spam-protected)
Subject: Re: IP: Statue of a computer scientist
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 22:01:00 -0400
From: “Mike O’Dell” (spam-protected)

many years ago, the Journal of the British Computer Society published a collection of Turing’s papers and notes along with some history-of-science analysis.

what was truly stunning was that Turning not only invented the general purpose computer as we now understand it, but he also invented *programming* and even *software engineering* as we now understand it. the notes go on at length about the need for subroutines, subroutine libraries for common functions, and he even invented debugging and the concept of a debugger program. he also described what we today called a relocating assembler and linker – inventing the whole notion of “relocation” as an “obvious” aside.

he had the design for a complete computer almost done, and he was fighting for resources to build it, but caught up in his other problems it fell to others to build what was probably a lesser machine.

I hope all the BCS stuff got collected and republished somewhere, and if someone knows where I’d love to know as I haven’t been able to find it.

Reading those notes makes it abundantly clear that there’s very little in modern computing that Alan Turing didn’t invent or at least fortell.

His loss was an incalculable tragedy.

-mo
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