Alan Mathison Turing was born on the 23rd of July 1912 in Orissa, British India. His father was working in the India Civil Service.
From childhood, Turing showed signs of great intelligence and had a love for numbers.
This love for numbers led him to become one of the most important figures in modern digital computing, even before it was really recognized as a science.
Turing’s teachers recognized how great he was at mathematics, and he was so intelligent that he was able to understand Einstein’s work at just 16 years.
Even in university he majored in mathematics and soon afterwards started formulating his theory of numbers.
He believed that if a device could be created that would be fed formal math numbers so that it can calculate certain equations.
These mathematical numbers need to be formulated as mathematical algorithms so that the device (“Turing Machine”) could give an answer.
Improving on this idea further, Turing came up with the “Universal Turing Machine” which was able to do the work of any other machine.
In other words, he felt the Universal Turing Machine could do any mathematical computation from numbers, if there was a computation possible.
During the World War II, he worked at decoding German codes first in England, and later in America.
His experience with the ones and zeroes of the codes led him to believe that he could create a machine that was able to turn thoughts into numbers.
To prove that these machines were ‘intelligent’ and able to do the job he created a testing 1950 called the Turing Test.
Even though it took over 9 years after Turing proposed his theory of thoughts into numbers, eventually, the creation of the computer showed that he was right.
Today, the foundation of the programs that help us work on our computers and lap tops lies in Turing’s theory that thoughts could be turned into numbers (and letters).
Towards the end of his career he encountered many personal problems and was believed to have committed suicide (although many are still unsure) from eating a poisonous apple.
In honour of his achievement and contribution the Turing Award given for any person contributing towards the technical improvement of computers.
This award is sometimes called the “Nobel Prize for Computer Science”.