Royal Pardon for Turing

Turing is pardoned. The greatest mind in the history of computing today received a Royal Pardon for his homosexuality conviction in 1952.

Alan Turing was the father of computing.

In 1936, he presented his idea of the Universal Turing Machine – a general purpose computer.

He wrote: “It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence.”

He showed that any computational problem could be solved if expressed as an algorithm.

The more complex a problem is, the addition of more stored programme capacity permitted the Universal Turing Machine to do the computation.

In 1946 Turing designed the first stored programme computer The Automatic Computing Engine for the National Physical Laboratory.

Later he worked on the early Manchester computers.

Alan Turing was elected a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge at the precociously early age of 22. He was awarded his PhD at Princeton. In 1951 he was elected FRS.

In 1945 he received the OBE from King George VI for his work in cracking Enigma, the German coding machine used in World War II.

“You needed exceptional talent, you needed genius at Bletchley and Turing’s was that genius,” wrote the historian Asa Briggs.

Although Turing had made a huge contribution to winning the war, he was prosecuted in 1952 and, two years later, was dead. Some said suicide, some that it was an accident.

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