SUNY Geneseo Department of Computer Science

# Alan Turing

Thursday, April 3

Intd 105 13, Spring 2014

Prof. Doug Baldwin

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## Misc

Tuesday (April 8) is GREAT Day

- Student scholarly/creative work “conference”
- No classes
- No appointments with me

## Questions?

## Turing

Turing’s contributions to math and computer science

- Turing machine
- Purely theoretical machine that turns out to be equivalent to modern computers. Based on tape for memory and “states” for short-term storage during computation
- Universal Turing machines: one of the computations a Turing machine can do is interpret another program, i.e., such a Turing machine can be programmed to do anything

- Proof that Turing machines (and math) can’t do certain things
- Turing test
- Possible standard for how to tell if a computer is intelligent
- Can a person carrying out an arbitrary conversation tell whether they are communicating with the computer or with another person?
- Try it: most of the class asks questions to a small group, who either answer themselves, or relay questions and resulting responses to an Eliza web app (Eliza = classic language-understanding program that carries out a psychotherapist-style conversation with its user, purely based on pattern-matching in input, no understanding at all)

Other biographical facts

- Key code-breaker at Bletchley Park during World War II, especially in first half of war
- Designed electronic computer after war, it never got built
- Eventually went to Manchester University where a computer had been built and was operating
- Arrested for a homosexual liaison
- Accepted drug “treatment” rather than go to prison
- Probable suicide ca 2 years after arrest

To what extent is Tom Jericho supposed to “be” Turing?

- Lots of similarities, e.g., both are mathematicians, both based at Cambridge, both work (and live) in same place on same problems at Bletchley, both are socially awkward
- But Turing is a distinct off-stage character in Enigma
- Harris probably took a lot of inspiration for Jericho from Turing, and maybe had some fun with some connections, but Jericho is not just Turing-as-superhero

## Next

Tuesday: GREAT Day, no class

Thursday (4/10): Enigma essay peer critiques

- Bring the usual 3 copies of draft essay

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