The Essential Turing: Seminal Writings in Computing, Logic, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Life plus The Secrets of Enigma

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Overview

Alan Turing was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. In 1935, aged 22, he developed the mathematical theory upon which all subsequent stored-program digital computers are modeled.

At the outbreak of hostilities with Germany in September 1939, he joined the Government Codebreaking team at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire and played a crucial role in deciphering Engima, the code used by the German armed forces to protect their radio communications. Turing's work on the version of Enigma used by the German navy was vital to the battle for supremacy in the North Atlantic. He also contributed to the attack on the cyphers known as "Fish," which were used by the German High Command for the encryption of signals during the latter part of the war. His contribution helped to shorten the war in Europe by an estimated two years.

After the war, his theoretical work led to the development of Britain's first computers at the National Physical Laboratory and the Royal Society Computing Machine Laboratory at Manchester University.

Turing was also a founding father of modern cognitive science, theorizing that the cortex at birth is an "unorganized machine" which through "training" becomes organized "into a universal machine or something like it." He went on to develop the use of computers to model biological growth, launching the discipline now referred to as Artificial Life.

The papers in this book are the key works for understanding Turing's phenomenal contribution across all these fields. The collection includes Turing's declassified wartime "Treatise on the Enigma"; letters from Turing to Churchill and to codebreakers; lectures, papers, and broadcasts which opened up the concept of AI and its implications; and the paper which formed the genesis of the investigation of Artifical Life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A sophisticated, compelling, and philosophically competent account of the role that Turing has played in the information revolution. No bibliography on the foundations of computing is complete without The Essential Turing. This attractive package offers an essential text for any scholar of the history, philosophy, or future of computing, and an excellent textbook for every academic program concerned with philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, or artificial life. Copeland's commentary and effortless writing turn reading the works of the father of the digital age into a pleasure, making The Essential Turing an accessible bestseller in popular science."—Ammon H. Eden, Minds & Machines

"Alan Turing, pioneer of computing and World War II code breaker, was one of the most important and influential thinkers of the twentieth century. In this book, Turing's work... is made easily accessible for the first time...This volume contains the work of a genius who, in his all too short life, made significant contributions in important areas benefiting us today. — Cryptologia Reviews

"In this book, Turing's key writings...are made easily accessible for the first time. Lectures, scientific papers, top secret wartime material, correspondence, and broadcasts are introduced and set in context by Jack Copeland, Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing." —The American Cryptogram Association

"It is a book that belongs in your personal library to read at your leisure. It would be a welcome gift."—Cryptologia

"A sophisticated, compelling, and philosophically competent account of the role that Turing has played in the information revolution. No bibliography on the foundations of computing is complete without The Essential Turing. This attractive package offers an essential text for any scholar of the history, philosophy, or future of computing, and an excellent textbook for every academic program concerned with philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, or artificial life. Copeland's commentary and effortless writing turn reading the works of the father of the digital age into a pleasure, making The Essential Turing an accessible bestseller in popular science."—Ammon H. Eden, Minds & Machines

"Both the editorial commentaries and Turing's own writings are engrossing reading."—The Review of Modern Logic

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198250807
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 622
  • Sales rank: 779,681
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

B. J. Copeland is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

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Table of Contents

Alan Turing 1912-1954 1
Computable numbers : a guide 5
1 On computable numbers, with an application to the entscheidungsproblem (1936) 58
2 On computable numbers : corrections and critiques 91
3 Systems of logic based on ordinals (1938), including excerpts from Turing's correspondence, 1936-1938 125
4 Letters on logic to Max Newman (c. 1940) 205
Enigma 217
5 History of Hut 8 to December 1941 (1945), featuring an excerpt from Turing's 'treatise on the enigma' 265
6 Bombe and Spider (1940) 313
7 Letter to Winston Churchill (1941) 336
8 Memorandum to OP-20-G on naval enigma (c. 1941) 341
Artificial intelligence 353
9 Lecture on the automatic computing engine (1947) 362
10 Intelligent machinery (1948) 395
11 Computing machinery and intelligence (1950) 433
12 Intelligent machinery, a heretical theory (c. 1951) 465
13 Can digital computers think? (1951) 476
14 Can automatic calculating machines be said to think? (1952) 487
Artificial life 507
15 The chemical basis of morphogenesis (1952) 519
16 Chess (1953) 562
17 Solvable and unsolvable problems (1954) 576
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