Apology for Turing, founder of computer science

August 31, 2009 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

Alan Turing was a famous scientist who could be called the father of computer science and did a lot to start the computer revolution that I’m typing, and you are reading on right now.

But I didn’t know the following shocking news… kinda sad that we treat great people this way because of “morality.”  Story below:

National legacy

Alan Turing is most famous for his code-breaking work at Bletchley Park during WWII, helping to create the Bombe that cracked messages enciphered with the German Enigma machines.

However he also made significant contributions to the emerging fields of artificial intelligence and computing.

In 1936 he established the conceptual and philosophical basis for the rise of computers in a seminal paper called “On Computable Numbers”, whilst in 1950 he devised a test to measure the intelligence of a machine. Today it is known as the Turing Test.

via BBC NEWS | Thousands call for Turing apology

So what’s so shocking?

Thousands of people have signed a Downing Street petition calling for a posthumous government apology to World War II code breaker Alan Turing.

In 1952 Turing was prosecuted under the gross indecency act after admitting to a sexual relationship with a man. Two years later he killed himself.

The petition was the idea of computer scientist John Graham-Cumming.

He is seeking an apology for the way the young mathematician was treated after his conviction. He has also written to the Queen to ask for a posthumous knighthood to be awarded to the British mathematician.

Alan Turing was given experimental chemical castration as a “treatment” and his security privileges were removed, meaning he could not continue work for the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

“This added insult and humiliation ultimately drove him to suicide,” said gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who also backs the campaign. “With Turing’s death, Britain and the world lost one of its finest intellectual minds. A government apology and posthumous pardon are long overdue.”


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