Royal Pardon Of Computer Science Pioneer Alan Turing Just Draws Unnecessary Attention To A Sin That Cannot Now Be Rectified.

Click to access Wikipedia entry.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013...
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by Anura Guruge


Of course it is good that his name is being cleared by a ‘Royal Pardon‘ but I agitate in that I worry that this just draws attention to something that cannot be reversed.

Given that I did my first computer degree from 1971 to 1974, when computer science as an academic field was still quite young, we did a lot of work on Turing theory and Turing machines. Yes, of course, we had Turing machine simulators and we had to write Turing machine code. I kind of enjoyed that. Had to do Turing coding again for my Master’s in 1978 – 1979. Then in 2002 while teaching post-grads at SNHU I got them doing some Turing coding.
[Try this Turing Machine simulator.]

Cute artistic rendition of a tape-driven, 'theoretical' Turning machine.

Cute artistic rendition of a tape-driven, ‘theoretical’ Turing machine. Click to ENLARGE.

I don’t ever recall, in the 1970s, being told or reading that Turning was gay. I might have but I can’t remember.

A working Turing Machine. I never got to use anything like this. Best we had were programmatic simulators. Click to ENLARGE. From Wikipedia.

I think I only became aware of it last year when we were all celebrating the 100 year anniversary of his birth; dob: June 23, 1912.

I know it was important to the gay community but my own feeling is that we are drawing unnecessary attention to a facet of Alan Turing that is not germane to his brilliance.

What they did to him and his ‘suicide’ cannot be rectified. That is problem here. The pardon is just words. It is not like Obama pardoning Deval Patrick’s drug-dealing cousin. This pardon does not help Alan. He is gone.

Well, I, for one, will try to continue remembering Alan for his genius rather than for what happened or this Royal Pardon.

Merry Christmas to you All.


Very COOL, interactive Google Doodle for Alan’s 100th birthday June 23, 2013.
Click to not only access interactive Doodle but to also look at the pictures and write up.

gdturing100


Very cute, but 100% representative Turing Machine highlighting the ONLY 3 commands available, i.e., move tape left, move tape right & write/erase.
In theory this machine with those 3 commands is all powerful, though not much fun to program after the first few minutes of messing around.

Click to ENLARGE. From THE 'University of Cambridge'.

Click to ENLARGE. From THE ‘University of Cambridge’.


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