The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer (Great Discoveries)

By David Leavitt

A "skillful and literate" (New York occasions booklet Review) biography of the persecuted genius who helped create the trendy computer.

to unravel one of many nice mathematical difficulties of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary computing device. Then, trying to holiday a Nazi code in the course of international warfare II, he effectively designed and outfitted one, therefore making sure the Allied victory. Turing grew to become a champion of synthetic intelligence, yet his paintings used to be minimize brief. As an overtly homosexual guy at a time whilst homosexuality was once unlawful in England, he was once convicted and compelled to endure a humiliating "treatment" that could have resulted in his suicide.

With a novelist's sensitivity, David Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity―his eccentricities, his brilliance, his deadly candor―and elegantly explains his paintings and its implications.

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274“the door opened for you”: Ibid. 275“You will by means of now have heard”: Turing Archive, AMT/A/15, June 6, 1954. 276“There isn't the slightest doubt”: Turing Archive, AMT/A/16, might 1, 1955. 276“difficult to connect”: Turing Archive, AMT/A/17, June thirteen, 1954. 277“I can confirm”: Turing Archive, AMT/A/17, Aug. 18, 1954. 277“If i could say so”: Turing Archive, AMT/A/23, Sept. 24, 1960. Messages from the Unseen international: “The Letter Written via Robin Gandy to Max Newman in June 1954,” Mathematical common sense, 267. 279“a new quantum mechanics”: Ibid. , 266. 279“No mathematician should still ever”: Hardy, Apology, 70. 279“involved an apple”: Hodges, Enigma, 129. extra studying For any reader drawn to studying extra approximately Alan Turing, there's nowhere higher to start than with Andrew Hodges’ Alan Turing: The Enigma (Walker, 2000). This tremendous biography is straight away clever, delicate, and exhaustive—the kind of ebook that makes different books attainable. crucial of Turing’s papers—including “Computable Numbers” and “Mechanical Intelligence”—have been amassed within the crucial Turing: the tips That Gave delivery to the pc Age, edited through B. Jack Copeland and released through Oxford college Press at the party of what could were the mathematician’s 90th birthday. Turing’s entire writings are available within the four-volume accumulated Works of A. M. Turing, released via North-Holland. Of specific curiosity are the volumes entitled Mathematical common sense (2001) and Mechanical Intelligence (1992). Turing’s letters, in addition to letters to him and the drafts of a few of his papers, are kept within the information at King’s university, Cambridge. (I am indebted to Dr. Rosamund Moad for making those files on hand to me. ) a few those may be consulted on-line at http://www. turing archive. org. strangely few books tackle Turing as their specific topic. Concise introductions to Turing’s principles are available in Hodges’ Turing: A usual thinker (Phoenix, 1997) and Jon Agar’s Turing and the common desktop (Icon, 2001). Alan Turing: existence and Legacy of an excellent philosopher, edited via Christof Teuscher (Springer-Verlag, 2004), brings jointly essays (and a play) on Turing via, between others, Hodges, Martin Davis, Daniel Dennett, and Douglas Hofstadter. some of the different basic texts to which I refer were accrued in 3 helpful omnibus volumes: The Undecidable: simple Papers on Undecidable Propositions, Unsolvable difficulties and Computable features, edited by way of Martin Davis (Dover, 1993); From Frege to Gödel: A resource ebook in Mathematical common sense, 1879–1931, edited by means of Jean van Heijenoort (Harvard collage Press, 1967); and The common Turing laptop: A Half-Century Survey, edited by way of Rolf Herkin (Springer-Verlag, 1995). moreover, the interviews with Princeton mathematicians mentioned in bankruptcy four may be consulted on-line at http://infoshare1. princeton. edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/ finding_aids/mathoral/math. html. eventually, many files from the interval in which Turing labored at Manchester may be considered at http://www.

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