Innovations in Science: Passing the ‘Turing Test’

With the release of the feature film The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch, a long overdue spotlight is being shone on Alan Turing, arguably one of the most unsung heroes in scientific research.

Alan Turing was a British mathematician and a principal architect of the team of code-breakers at Bletchley Park during World War II. Turing and his team faced the seemingly impossible task of analyzing the big data of their day, that is, the billions of possible combinations of codes generated by Nazi Germany’s Enigma. Turing helped develop the “Bombe,” an electro-mechanical machine that was able to decipher these codes. A key part of Turing’s brilliance was effectively using the information that the Bombe yielded to thwart the enemy’s plans, without revealing that the Enigma codes had been broken, thus hastening the Allied victory. Although primitive by today’s standards — High Performance Computer Cluster (HPCC) Systems, for example, is an open source, big data processing platform that can handle 30 million transactions per hour — the Bombe was revolutionary in its day and it is still regarded as a breakthrough technological achievement.

Turing’s World War II work and his 1937 —> Read More Here


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