Last week saw the anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, a name that many of us probably recognize, without quite knowing why. Yet we should be grateful to him every time we write an email or produce a report, because Turing is widely recognized as the father of modern computer science. He created the first ever ‘computer’, known as the Turing Machine and designed to mimic logical human thought. When he first published his theory, in 1937, the idea was considered simply academically interesting; no-one could have foreseen how it would ultimately change the world.
A Cambridge University don, Turing was also instrumental in the cracking of the Enigma code, which ultimately helped the Allies win the Second World War.
When we think of the early days of computing, most of us probably imagine Bill Gates (Microsoft) or Steve Wozniak (Apple) in their respective garages with circuit boards and soldering irons, but the pedigree of that box of tricks on the desk goes back much, much further.