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Turing: Pioneer of the Information Age

Overview


Alan Turing is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. But who was Turing, and what did he achieve during his tragically short life of 41 years? Best known as the genius who broke Germany's most secret codes during the war of 1939-45, Turing was also the father of the modern computer. Today, all who 'click-to-open' are familiar with the impact of Turing's ideas.

Here, B. Jack Copeland provides an account of Turing's life and work, exploring the key ...

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Turing: Pioneer of the Information Age

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Overview


Alan Turing is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. But who was Turing, and what did he achieve during his tragically short life of 41 years? Best known as the genius who broke Germany's most secret codes during the war of 1939-45, Turing was also the father of the modern computer. Today, all who 'click-to-open' are familiar with the impact of Turing's ideas.

Here, B. Jack Copeland provides an account of Turing's life and work, exploring the key elements of his life-story in tandem with his leading ideas and contributions. The book highlights Turing's contributions to computing and to computer science, including Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life, and the emphasis throughout is on the relevance of his work to modern developments. The story of his contributions to codebreaking during the Second World War is set in the context of his thinking about machines, as is the account of his work in the foundations of mathematics.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The introduction to computer pioneer Alan Turing by philosopher and leading Turing scholar Copeland reveals a life too complex for a short volume. Described by his mother as an “unsociable and dreamy child,” Turing found his calling in mathematics, applying his talents to WWII code-breaking intelligence (efforts “kept secret for almost sixty years”), but the breakthroughs that earned him a place in history were those in software-centric and stored-program computing, developments that gave rise to the fields of artificial intelligence and artificial life. Turing’s work was an exploration of the human mind via computers, though he theorized that there is nevertheless a “mysterious something” in the human mind that goes “beyond computability.” It is an increasingly relevant inquiry, as Turing’s inventions have spread from military-industrial applications into the everyday. Copeland is best at revising popular myths about Turing’s life (including a rebuttal of claims that Turing committed suicide), but colorful digressions into contextual errata sometimes occlude these revelations. Perhaps this effect is intentional, presenting Turing as his contemporaries saw him: a puzzling enigma, a brilliant mind directing traffic at the intersection of man and machine. 20 b&w illus. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199639793
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/20/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 559,297
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Copeland is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where he is Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing. His books include The Essential Turing (Oxford University Press), Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking Computers (Oxford University Press), Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine (Oxford University Press), Logic and Reality: Essays on the Legacy of Arthur Prior (Oxford University Press), and Artificial Intelligence (Blackwell). He has published more than 100 articles on the philosophy and history of computing, and mathematical and philosophical logic.

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Table of Contents

1. Click to Open
2. Turing's Universal Machine
3. Sinking Hilbert
4. The Intuitive Mathematician
5. Breaking Enigma
6. Tunny - Hitler's BlackBerry
7. The Colossus of Computers
8. ACE- A Month's Work in a Minute
9. The Manchester "Electronic Brain"
10. Artificial Intelligence
11. The Imitation Game
12. Educating Machinery
13. Computer Chess
14. Artificial Life
15. Epilogue

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