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Stephen Wolfram’s personal tribute to Alan Turing

Today Stephen Wolfram (creator of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha) wrote a personal tribute to the founding father of computation, Alan Turing. Turing, who would have celebrated his 98th birthday today, laid the foundation for computing and technology as we know it today.

I thought many of you would be interested in the story of Turing's impact on Stephen Wolfram's life and work and Wolfram's perspective on the work Turing might have pursued if he had lived longer.

Today (June 23, 2010) would have been Alan Turing’s 98th birthday—if he had not died in 1954, at the age of 41.

I never met Alan Turing; he died five years before I was born. But somehow I feel I know him well—not least because many of my own intellectual interests have had an almost eerie parallel with his.

And by a strange coincidence, Mathematica’s “birthday” (June 23, 1988) is aligned with Turing’s—so that today is also the celebration of Mathematica’s 22nd birthday.

I think I first heard about Alan Turing when I was about eleven years old, right around the time I saw my first computer. Through a friend of my parents, I had gotten to know a rather eccentric old classics professor, who, knowing my interest in science, mentioned to me this “bright young chap named Turing” whom he had known during the Second World War.

Read the whole tribute.

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