Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Honoring Alan Turing, "Father of Computer Science"

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the happy-birthday dept.

United Kingdom 230

alphadogg writes "Google's Vint Cerf and others are spearheading celebrations in Silicon Valley and the UK this month to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth. 'The man challenged everyone's thinking,' says Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, in an interview with Network World. 'He was so early in the history of computing, and yet so incredibly visionary about it.' Cerf — who is president-elect of the Association for Computing Machinery and general chair of that organization's effort to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of Turing's birth on June 23 — says that it's tough to overstate the importance of Turing's role in shaping the world of modern computing. Turing's accomplishments included his breakthrough Turing machine, cracking German military codes during WWII and designing a digital multiplier called the Automated Computing Machine."

cancel ×

230 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

And he killed a dragon once with a vacuum tube (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40288761)

Okay, well that last one sounds a little more implausible than the rest--granted.

Re:And he killed a dragon once with a vacuum tube (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40288787)

Okay, well that last one sounds a little more implausible than the rest--granted.

By the way crazyjj you sure do get lots of first posts lately.


Welp my game just crashed and I hate doing shit over again.

So I thought I would come here and say this: NIGGERS!

Re:And he killed a dragon once with a vacuum tube (0)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#40288859)

I was there. I saw it.

Not Everybody Worships Turing, Sorry (3, Insightful)

qbitslayer (2567421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289403)

Some believe that everything that ails computing, from the software unreliability and low productivity crisis to the current parallel programming crisis, can be blamed on the computer industry's strange infatuation with Turing. When you have some time, ask yourself what Turing has done for parallel programming or software unreliability. Heck, Charles Babbage's analytical engine was a Turing Machine a century before Turing. Go figure.

Parallel Computing: The End of the Turing Madness [blogspot.com]

Re:Not Everybody Worships Turing, Sorry (2)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290711)

I thought it was von Neumann that got blamed for this rather than Turing. Then again, there's probably enough blame to go around.

Re:And he killed a dragon once with a vacuum tube (-1, Troll)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289869)

And yet, his genetic legacy was wasted because he was gay- robbing us of future geniuses.

Re:And he killed a dragon once with a vacuum tube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289999)

No gay man ever fathered a child in your universe?

Re:And he killed a dragon once with a vacuum tube (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290019)

No one owes you their sperm.

Plus, it wasn't his homosexuality that prevented him from reproducing. Had he lived longer, for all we know, he may have chosen to donate some sperm. But we'll never know, because the effects of stupid laws pushed him to end his life far too prematurely.

Re:And he killed a dragon once with a vacuum tube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290705)

He was treated most shabbily by the Government of the day. His homosexuality and naivety did not serve him well. He submitted to chemical castration and other enforced steps to cure him, deeds regarded as criminal by today's standards.

He made people think. It finally killed him. (5, Interesting)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40288863)

'The man challenged everyone's thinking,' says Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, in an interview with Network World.

No wonder he was driven to suicide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing#Death [wikipedia.org]

No, it was homophobia that killed him (5, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289107)

Despite your implication, there is no "persecuted genius" (a /. reader wish-fulfillment dream for sure) story here. I mean, he was a genius, of that there is no doubt, and he was persecuted, but they weren't really connected. Even in his own lifetime his work was honored and well-received. Where the persecution comes in, is in the conviction for homosexual indecency, and having his security clearance (and thus, most of his ability to continue working) revoked, and being subjected to court-ordered chemical castration. But to know about that, you'd have to scroll up on the wikipedia page.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289153)

I think destroying someone's career because of his sexual orientation counts as persecution in most modern societies.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (5, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289283)

I think destroying someone's career because of his sexual orientation counts as persecution in most modern societies.

Indeed, but the question was whether or not he was persecuted for being a genius.
He wasn't; he was persecuted for being gay... or to be more precise committing the then-crime of "gross indecency".

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (0, Troll)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289879)

And for those of use who believe in evolution and genetics influencing ability, robbing the world of future geniuses by refusing to breed.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290089)

oh fuck you, no one is forced to breed and if they were all it requires is tossing in a cup.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290113)

He would only have "robbed" if he had killed fetuses or infants.

He "robbed" the world much like you are robbing me by not giving me all your money.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (3, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290363)

So I can then I assume from your comment that you will hold fast to your beliefs that only the intelligent should survive and will yourself refuse to breed? Shitty bigots like you are the reason why Turing died. If Turing had been living in Boston today, he would have merrily continued with his work, gotten married to someone he loved, and if it tickled his fancy, have had a kid. The kid could have been from his very own sperm if that is so fucking important to you. It is kind of hard to breed when if it leaks out that your partner has the wrong naughty bits, the government castrates you. I suppose you think the Jews that got dumped into gas chambers in Auschwitz are also assholes for not breeding?

The bigoted British government of the 50s robbed the world of Turing passing down a legacy, not his sexual orientation.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290399)

Based on your past few comments, if you think forcing someone to breed is a good idea, or that someone 'owes' that to you, then I hope you save the world some pain and avoid breeding yourself, or at least don't teach anyone that braindead idea.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290555)

I wasn't sure if your first post was a badly written joke or a troll. It seems you are persisting, so either you insist on repeatedly making bad jokes or you're a nutcase.

Please do use a favour and don't breed, so you don't rob future generations of oxygen.

(or, just in case you're joking, please don't breed because to world does not need more people who can't tell when their pet joke isn't funny)

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290985)

And for those of use who believe in evolution and genetics influencing ability, robbing the world of future geniuses by refusing to breed.

Robbing the world of future children who might, or might not, have been geniuses. (Those who believe in evolution and genetics influencing ability are presumably familiar with, for example, the notion of recessive genes.... They're presumably also familiar with the notion that merely having a set of genes for some trait does not always magically ensure that the trait will manifest itself in the way you want; had, for example, Alan not been a particularly good father in this hypothetical world where he was a father, the kids might, or might not, have ended up as geniuses or, even if they did, they might not have ended up as productive geniuses.)

And, if he contributed more to the success of his brother John's children [bbc.co.uk] as a result of not having children of his own than he would have contributed to the success of his own children had he had any, perhaps it was a net win for the cause of geniuses. (Google is your friend [google.com] .)

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289267)

I take your point, however back then, being homosexual also made people *think* in ways that weren't necessarily comfortable, particularly when considering those odd friends and relatives that never married.

These days, it makes them watch daytime TV. Times change.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289589)

What you're missing is that being homosexual also challenged everyone's thinking.

The poster you're replying to didn't mention the word 'genius'. You're delving into your own /. wish-fulfillment by inventing something to reply to.

Re:No, it was homophobia that killed him (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289649)

In his lifetime most of his wartime work was unknown and still very secret. He probably should have gotten a medal or award of some sort for his work but that would involve revealing secret information. His after war computer work was better known, but that was in a much smaller circle of academics and later in his life. As I heard it, as part of his depression after being convicted was that he believed his work would be tainted by association with a criminal and forgotten about.

Af for the chemical castration, that was a very new idea at the time. No one really knew what it would do (mass doses of estrogen) but the theory was that it would "cure" the homosexuality. It was given as a choice between that or jail time, and it's entirely possible that some people thought it was the lesser punishment choice for someone with his reputation. It's in hindsight that we see this crude cure as being the worse punishment, and it contributed to his depression.

Re:He made people think. It finally killed him. (0)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289245)

Still unclear: if this event is being organized by Google's Vint Cerf and others, how many Vint Cerfs are there?!

Re:He made people think. It finally killed him. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289865)

"Google's Vint Cerf" seemed inappropriate to me, considering Mr. Cerf's background. It should be "Vint Cerf's Google".

But will they say gay? (5, Insightful)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40288865)

I wonder if they'll mention his persecution by the British government for being gay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_turing#Conviction_for_indecency [wikipedia.org]
How we reward our heroes in this world...

correction (0)

ozduo (2043408) | more than 2 years ago | (#40288983)

I wonder if they'll mention his persecution by the British government for being gay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_turing#Conviction_for_indecency [wikipedia.org] How we reward our heroes in this world...

incorrect usage of 'Gay' you should have written "persecution by the British government for being A gay"

Re:correction (3, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289231)

Nah, during the fifties it was illegal to be cheerful, too.

Re:correction (2)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290271)

[hat tip]

Re:correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291031)

incorrect usage of 'Gay' you should have written "persecution by the British government for being A gay

No. In referring to the particular cultural manifestation of homosexuality, 'gay' is first and foremost an adjective. Not only is its use as a noun "a gay" for "a gay man" derogatory, it is arguably "incorrect usage." It is incorrect in the same way as the statement "ozduo is an ignorant" would be better be phrased simply as "ozduo is ignorant."

Re:But will they say gay? (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289091)

Judging by the program [acm.org] for the meatspace event next week, it looks like no. Not even the abstract for the "Turing the Man" panel, which is probably the only one it'd really fit in, mentions his persecution by the British government. The description of what precisely the panel will discuss about his life is vague enough that it might be mentioned at the actual event, though.

Re:But will they say gay? (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289409)

A few months ago the British government decided not to pardon Turing [bbc.com] for his "crime" of being gay.

Their reasoning for rejecting the pardon request seems reasonable:

"However, the law at the time required a prosecution and, as such, long-standing policy has been to accept that such convictions took place and, rather than trying to alter the historical context and to put right what cannot be put right, ensure instead that we never again return to those times."

So it seems that's been addressed by the British government recently. Even though full equality may be a few steps away -- and we shouldn't whitewash that fact -- it's also important to acknowledge that there was far more to Turing than his sexuality.

Re:But will they say gay? (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289679)

I love the idea of leaving these illegal prosecutions on the books. It seems to inspire a false sense of closure when people are posthumously pardoned. About the only time it's tangibly relevant is when someone has a conviction on their records that blocks opportunities like employment.

Re:But will they say gay? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290587)

Personally, I understand their point of view. It's arguable better not to give a false sense of clousre (Turing is dead and beyond caring now) than to whitewash history. Closure means moving on, and it's best not to move on and forget what caused it in the first place.

Re:But will they say gay? (2)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291139)

I love the idea of leaving these illegal prosecutions on the books.

What was illegal about the prosecution?! Was he not convicted of a crime by due process of law upon evidence and beyond reasonable doubt?

The point of Lord McNally was making was that just because the particular offence "now seems both cruel and absurd," does not mean it was not at that point in history a criminal offence. That being the case a pardon is not appropriate. What is appropriate is that we recognise the criminal law ought not to intervene in the choice of sexual behaviour among consenting adults. And that we should be careful not to elect to the legislature people who would seek once again to make it so.

Re:But will they say gay? (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290383)

Even though full equality may be a few steps away

Equality in what sense?

Re:But will they say gay? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290441)

Well I can't say much on the topic because I don't live in the UK, but they still don't allow gay couples to get married, for example.

Re:But will they say gay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290517)

Yeah, mainly that. You can get a Civil Partnership, and the law says that Civil Partnerships are /like/ a marriage, but they aren't marriage. Anything a straight couple can do, a gay couple can legally do, but in some cases the gay couple has to fill out extra paperwork or jump through other hoops, whereas things happen automatically if you're married.

Plus of course society is still riddled with homophobia. They may not lock you up but they can be pretty horrible to you.

Don't think so (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290769)

Plus of course society is still riddled with homophobia. They may not lock you up but they can be pretty horrible to you.

I don't think so. The vast majority of people respect homosexuals.
The homosexual militancy tries to project an image of poor victims,
but, in 2012, that is not so. Not in America or Europe. I think that,
just like the feminist movement, the homosexual militancy has already
achieved its reasonable goals and all they have left are unreasonable goals.

In places like Iran, though, homosexuals are unfortunately treated awfully.

Re:Don't think so (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291107)

In both cases the goal is full equality. You weren't involved in making America or Europe a better place than Iran, kindly do shut the fuck up about those whose progress you laud.

Also it's important to note that, as with the case of RMS and similarly Fox News, a few extremists can be very useful in shifting the Overton window.

Re:Don't think so (1)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291223)

I don't think so. The vast majority of people respect homosexuals. The homosexual militancy tries to project an image of poor victims, but, in 2012, that is not so

I know right? Like how you apparently support them! And apparently it's just the militant ones you don't like, because apparently they're giving the media this idea that they're poor victims! How dare those kids kill themselves after years of homophobic bullying, they're giving the world the wrong impression about how much they are respected!

I TOTALLY get you! I would like to subscribe to your newsletter for more of your idea

Re:But will they say gay? (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290779)

Well I can't say much on the topic because I don't live in the UK, but they still don't allow gay couples to get married, for example.

Please read http://frexpression.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/a-gay-man-decries-gay-rights/ [wordpress.com] . Its author is an atheist homosexual.

Re:But will they say gay? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290989)

Why would anyone waste their time reading a bunch of divisive partisan nonsense? That blog post is about as relevant as anything Glenn Beck or DailyKos has to say on the issue.

Not for "being gay". For committing n indecent act (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290373)

I wonder if they'll mention his persecution by the British government for being gay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_turing#Conviction_for_indecency [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

You may criticize the government's punishment of homosexual acts, but don't misrepresent the situation.
He wasn't punished for a physical quality; he was punished for an action - shoving a penis up his anus.

Debate becomes meaningless when people don't acknowledge the facts.

oh dear... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40288875)

June 23 fnord!

Oh, and I've heard that Apple fanbois honor him on their knees every day!

Google doodle finally (3, Informative)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 2 years ago | (#40288899)

I've requested a Google doodle for Alan Turing's birthday for a couple years now [google.com] . I'm just glad to hear they'll finally put one up.

Re:Google doodle finally (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289901)

I wonder if the doodle will be programmable, or even make it Turing complete for full nerd-gasm.

Fuck the British government (-1, Troll)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40288959)

Fuck them, and their stupid apology. Dead in his forties. Who knows what Turing might have accomplished. If God does indeed burn some people in Hell, homophobes surely must make up a large part of that population. Burn. Burn in agony for eternity. Evil worthless pieces of shit.

Re:Fuck the British government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40288985)

Sounds like you've got a cock up your arse.

Re:Fuck the British government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289101)

Sounds like you've got a cock up your arse.

Or vagina.

Re:Fuck the British government (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289495)

I knew this would go memetic. We're doomed.

Re:Fuck the British government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289085)

Alan had moved on from computers. I doubt he would have done more.

Re:Fuck the British government (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289163)

Really? So working on biological algorithms and AI wasn't computing?

Re:Fuck the British government (5, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289147)

To be fair, that all happened 60 years ago and many of those rules (including the ones making homosexuality illegal) are long gone. So too are virtually all the people involved (and the ones still alive are certainly no longer in a position to do much about it). About the only thing we can do now is say that it was a terrible shame that he died so young, and celebrate what he did achieve.

Re:Fuck the British government (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289375)

Blaming Britain today for the unfortunate event is no different than blaming America today for their support of slavery and then segregation. Cultures change. We're really rather embarassed about it now.

Re:Fuck the British government (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289517)

Blaming Britain today for the unfortunate event is no different than blaming America today for their support of slavery and then segregation. Cultures change. We're really rather embarassed about it now.

I neither owned slaves nor supported segregation. I have nothing to be embarrassed about on that score. The fact that I was born (due to no conscious decision of my own) geographically near the locations in which other people once did these things seems like a really bizarre thing to be embarrassed about.

Re:Fuck the British government (2)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289701)

Unless, of course, you folks keep doing it today [ted.com] .

Re:Fuck the British government (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289883)

By and large it ain't the folks doing it. They're doing it to the folks, too.

Re:Fuck the British government (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290393)

You don't have to blame the national entity. I mean shit, if you did, the Germans, Japanese, and Americans would be on the permanent shit list. That said, it is your duty to learn about what a dick your nation has been, and to not just merrily celebrate your glorious historical triumphs in a vacuum. A little humility in the face of your cultures past failings is healthy and helps prevent you from making those same mistakes.

Fuck Whom (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289247)

Fuck them, and their stupid apology

The people who persecuted Turing are dead or so feebleminded by extreme age that I can guarantee they'll never bear any seriously responsibilities ever again. The people who did the apologizing didn't persecute him, any more than I have owned slaves kidnapped from Africa or you have broken treaties with the Sioux Nation.

But I guess you might say that makes the contemporary government's apology meaningless, thereby undermining all apologies and leading to a world full of cynical assholes who never believe someone else is sorry. Ok, fuck them for that.

Re:Fuck Whom (2)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289553)

Many slaves were captured by rival tribes and traded to slave trades for trinkets, sold into the slave trade by their fellow countrymen.

Re:Fuck Whom (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290405)

Cool story bro.

Re:Fuck Whom (2)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289607)

As I tell my four year old when he messes up, you apologize but you also DO something about it. Just saying you are sorry is a platitude. Did Britain's apology come along with some tangible action or is it just useless verbiage?

Re:Fuck Whom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289915)

Tangible action was the problem -- in this case, doing nothing about "grossly indecent" gayness is the solution. What sort of action do you want? A giant sculpture in Trafalgar Square of post-chemical-castration zombie testicles teabagging closeted bureaucrats? A Big Gay Turing Chair at Cambridge (well-endowed, of course)?

Well okay, you're right then, these are actually pretty awesome ideas.

Re:Fuck the British government (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289911)

And if he hadn't have been homosexual, what might his children have accomplished?

Re:Fuck the British government (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290239)

Because being gay makes you infertile and being straight forces you to breed?

Just go away, ignorant buffoon.

Re:Fuck the British government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290491)

Troll, you're feeding it.

Re:Fuck the British government (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291033)

Statistically, yes.

Not just computers (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40288981)

Turing didn't just help with practical computers. A lot of his ideas mattered in many other fields. For example, his idea of the Turing machine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_machine [wikipedia.org] and related work was vital to a lot of other fields such as the rise of theoretical computer science, and even as far as the study of equations with integer solutions (called Diophantine equations) in the form of Hilbert's Tenth Problem http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert's_tenth_problem [wikipedia.org] .

Essentially, Hilbert asked whether there was a general algorithm to determine whether a given equation in integer variables had a solution. Even for individual equations figuring this out can be very difficult. For example it was known even in ancient times that x^2+y^2=z^2 had infinitely many integer solutions, but it took Fermat to show that x^4+y^4=z^4 did not. It turned out that there is no general way of answering these sorts of questions. The problem was solved by lot of people, especially Julia Robinson, Martin Davis, , Hilary Putnam, and ultimately finished off by Yuri Matiyasevich. The solution was to show that one can actually model an arbitrary Turing machine as a system of Diophantine equations, where the machine halting is equivalent to the Diophantine equations having a solution. Thus, if one can solve that one can answer whether any given Turing machine can halt, which Turing showed could not be done in general, using a clever trick- this is known as the Halting theorem http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halting_problem [wikipedia.org] . Curiously, the equivalent problem over the rationals is still open, and is turning out to be connected to deep issues in topology and the theory of elliptic curves. So Turing's ideas and thoughts are still pushing us forward and making us ask new questions.

Just sayin (3, Funny)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289029)

Has anyone noticed this [icanhascheezburger.com] before.... just sayin.

Alan Turing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289105)

It's so sad on reflection when we look on how we (and I'm British) treated him, just because he was homosexual. I'm afraid that we've lost many greats over the ages because of their peccadillos. At least now for many (but not everywhere) this is not a issue. Now Alan is receiving the recognition he truly deserved, along with Charles Babbage and don't forget Ada Byron.

Re:Alan Turing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289149)

I'm not a coward, just never figured out how of if I had to register! Ben Cowell

To be fair (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289181)

We did it because of American pressure; they refused to cooperate with us if we didn't go along with loony McCarthyism. Nobody persecuted Montgomery because his career was over after WW2 and he was of no strategic interest.

Re:To be fair (1)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290067)

Montgomery was not a homosexual. After his wife's death there was nothing to suggest that he was anything but celibate, notoriously so. As one American aide said, "You just DO NOT get personal with this guy", and he was only meaning having a beer with him.

I am not particularly sympathetic with gays, but they can get on with it as far as I am concerned (as Black Adder said, "leaving more totty for the rest of us"). They score far more than heteros ever do, I gather.

I have always been kicked in the teeth for being hetero, not least by women themselves. People seemed to think that, if you are good at passing exams and understand things like computers, then you should be asexual. Perhaps that was the case with Turing, not that he was gay, but that he was brainy AND gay.

Why "loony"? (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290295)

We did it because of American pressure; they refused to cooperate with us if we didn't go along with loony McCarthyism

Why do you call it "loony"?

Re:Alan Turing (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289529)

The british had a long-standing tradition of mis-treating many, many talented citizens of the Realm that had the misfortune of being practicing homosexuals.

Re:Alan Turing (1)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289973)

I thought he had been receiving such recognition for some time now, certainly since I first heard of him some years ago.

Something else to remember... (4, Insightful)

mseeger (40923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289135)

Please also remember, that he was driven into suicide by the nation he protected because he just was who he was. He had done nobody harm but was convicted because others decided what was morally acceptable between consenting adults.

Remember the talent we lost to bigotry :-(.

Re:Something else to remember... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289377)

And to top it off he was robbed by the little faggot who turned him in, the cops gave didn't prosecute him for theft since he turned Turning in for being gay.

I would have thought that robbery would be a worse crime than buggery even back then.

Re:Something else to remember... (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289497)

The only witness of the alleged theft was a suspected bugger...

Re:Something else to remember... (0)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289947)

And nobody even bothers to think about the talent we lost to the fact he was a homosexual. Intelligence *is* genetic, after all; it is the duty of the smart to breed.

Your nick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290349)

Are you really a Marxist (of the Karl variety)
or are you just kidding?

Re:Something else to remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290409)

it is the duty of the smart to breed.

Such a "duty" doesn't exist in any form.

Re:Something else to remember... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290621)

duty of the smart to breed.

I guess that makes it your duty not to.

Re:Something else to remember... (1)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290955)

Fuckwit. You don't seem to realize heterosexuality is no guarantee someone will procreate, and homosexuality is not some promise that someone will not. Artificial insemination. Sperm banks. Idiots like you who think they're so intelligent and that intelligence is genetic usually know all about these things because they're rejected from every sperm bank they apply to.

Re:Something else to remember... (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291057)

And nobody even bothers to think about the talent we lost to the fact he was a homosexual. Intelligence *is* genetic, after all; it is the duty of the smart to breed.

So get to work; one child is far from enough [google.com] . You're not doing your duty!

Not for "being who he was" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290311)

Please also remember, that he was driven into suicide by the nation he protected because he just was who he was.

You may criticize the government's punishment of homosexual acts, but don't misrepresent the situation.
He wasn't punished for a physical quality; he was punished for an action - shoving a penis up his anus.

Debate becomes meaningless when people don't acknowledge the facts.

Re:Not for "being who he was" (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291103)

Please also remember, that he was driven into suicide by the nation he protected because he just was who he was.

You may criticize the government's punishment of homosexual acts, but don't misrepresent the situation. He wasn't punished for a physical quality; he was punished for an action - shoving a penis up his anus.

Debate becomes meaningless when people don't acknowledge the facts.

OK, then, he was driven into suicide because he had sex with a man as a result of being attracted to men. (Presumably you're making the assertion at the end of the last sentence of the second paragraph because Turing not only acknowledged a sexual relationship with Arnold Murray but acknowledged that particular act, as opposed to various other acts in which they could have engaged instead, rather than just guessing at what happened.)

I've met Vint Cerf (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289225)

I've met Vint Cerf, who unlike Turing is alive.

Murdered by British version of tea party (-1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289419)

He was murdered by the British version of the tea party.

What about,,, (4, Informative)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289487)

Charles Babbage [wikipedia.org] & Ada Lovelace [wikipedia.org] ?

For you young whipper-snappers:

"Charles Babbage, FRS (26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871)[1] was an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer.[2] Considered a "father of the computer",[3] Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs.["

"Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 - 27 November 1852), born Augusta Ada Byron, was an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine; thanks to this, she is sometimes considered the world's first computer programmer."

Exactly! (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289681)

There are plenty of parents of "computer science". Alan Turing was more like the grandfather of modern computing, along with Ada and Babbage, and the father would be Von Neumann.

Re:What about,,, (1)

mdmarkus (522132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290665)

And if you bring up them, how about when they go and fight crime [sydneypadua.com] !

rust never sleeps (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289929)

Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist

Interesting that a title like "Google's chief Internet evangelist" sounded so cool in 2000 now sounds so completely dorky.

The future is so 1999.

Not Turing. von Neumann. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290245)

Von Neumann was much more influential than Turing. Not only did von Neumann do brilliant work in multiple areas of mathematics, he invented modern computer architecture. [stanford.edu] Babbage's design was more like a Jacquard loom card reader coupled to a calculator. Turing's theoretical machine had to roll a long tape back and forth, and the cryptographic machines were essentially hard-wired or plugboard-programmed. Those machines are closer in concept to Hollerith/IBM tabulators of the 1920s to 1950s.

Von Neumann got computer architecture right. He saw that the right answer was RAM, with programs and data in the same memory: The device requires a considerable memory. While it appeared that various parts of this memory have to perform functions which differ somewhat in their nature and considerably in their purpose, it is nevertheless tempting to treat the entire memory as one organ, and to have its parts even as interchangeable as possible for the various functions enumerated above."

He also figured out that 1) everything inside the machine should be binary, not decimal, 2) memory sizes should be a power of two, 3) about 2^18 bits of RAM were needed to get any useful work done, 4) delay-line memory would work in the short term, but "iconoscope" memory (see Williams tube [wikipedia.org] ), which is random access, would be better, and 5) what a reasonable instruction set should look like.

Re:Not Turing. von Neumann. (3, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290687)

Von Neumann was much more influential than Turing. Not only did von Neumann do brilliant work in multiple areas of mathematics, he invented modern computer architecture.

I'm not trying to denigrate von Neumann's achievements but...

Actually, pretty much all deeply embedded microcontrollers are Harvard architecture. Actually, most modern processers have separate paths from instruction cache and data cache making them much more like Harvard architecture than Von Neumann. That's why self modifying code is hideously slow on the modern CPUs that actually bother to flush things when a write aliasing the instruction cache is made. The other CPUs won't even see the modification.

Also, Zuse attempted to patent the idea in 1941.

He also figured out that 1) everything inside the machine should be binary,

All of Zuse's machines were binary as was Colossus. However, the last serious non-binary computer (Setun) performed very well, notably better than competing binary designs at the time.

Re:Not Turing. von Neumann. (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291275)

Actually, most modern processers have separate paths from instruction cache and data cache making them much more like Harvard architecture than Von Neumann.

Except for the ability to load arbitrary applications rather than running what's in the instruction memory, and being able to add new applications to the repertoire under program control, but that really isn't that important, I guess. To be fair, you could have a "modified Harvard architecture" in which you have instructions to write to the instruction memory and I/O data paths to allow data to be read into instruction memory.

In any case, there are two issues that matter here - the "macroarchitecture" issue of whether the set of software the machine can run is fixed into the machine or extensible and modifiable, and the "microarchitecture" issue of whether there are separate data paths, at any point, for code and data fetching. For the first of those two issues, most modern processors are much more like the IAS machine than like, say, the IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator at Harvard. On the second of those issues, well, which data paths are you talking about? The ones between the processor and the level-1 caches, or the ones between the level-1 caches and the rest of the memory hierarchy? (Are there any systems with split I&D level 2 or higher level caches?)

That's why self modifying code is hideously slow on the modern CPUs that actually bother to flush things when a write aliasing the instruction cache is made.

...or on the ones where you explicitly do an icache flush.

However, if, instead of modifying existing code, you generate new code in a fresh chunk of virtual memory and start using that code, it's not so bad. I suspect more of the latter (e.g., just-in-time compiling) is done than the former these days.

Re:Not Turing. von Neumann. (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291249)

The Von Neumann architecture is more like a modern computer, but the Turing machine, because it is simpler, is better for mathematics. Because it is simpler is it easier to prove that it has the same capabilities as other systems (that is, for Church thesis equivalency).

As far as I know Turing only intended his machine to be used for mathematical purposes, I don't think the ACE was modeled after the Turning machine.

Influence is very difficult to measure, but Von Neumann was more influence by Turing than Turing by Von Neumann.

It's also interesting to note that the ACE had subroutines, while the EDVAC did not.

Re:Not Turing. von Neumann. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291367)

What's even more impressive is that the von Neumann architecture is basically just his "crappy" prototype. As far as I can recall, he was working on a better architecture when he died. Who knows what might have been had he lived for a few more years...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>