Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Alan Turing granted posthumous royal pardon

Liberal peer and mathematician Lord Sharkey has succeeded in gaining a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing.

Alan Turing image by Harjit Mehroke

The text of the Royal Pardon can be read here

Turing centenary committee (TCAC) Chair, Professor S.B Cooper speaking about Turing's contribution on BBC Radio 4 Today:


National and International News items:


"Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon.
It addresses his 1952 conviction for homosexuality for which he was punished by being chemically castrated.
The conviction meant he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that had proved vital to the Allies in World War Two.
The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling."



Alan Turing gets royal pardon for 'gross indecency' – 61 years after he poisoned himself.
He was the father of modern computing whose work on the Enigma code at Bletchley Park  is said to have shortened the Second World War.


Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing receives royal pardon.
Mathematician lost his job and was given experimental 'chemical castration' after being convicted for homosexual activity in 1952 



Alan Turing, the wartime codebreaker, has been granted a posthumous pardon by the Queen for his criminal conviction for homosexuality. 
Dr Turing, who helped Britain to win World War II, killed himself after receiving the conviction in 1952.He has now been granted a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a high-profile campaign supported by tens of thousands of people including Professor Stephen Hawking. 


Six decades after his chemical castration and later suicide, Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science and breaker of the Nazis’ Enigma code, is being pardoned on Tuesday for his conviction for homosexuality.Turing – whose code-breaking work is said to have shortened the second world war by two years – has been granted a posthumous pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen, following a U-turn by the UK government.
Hailed as a genius in his own time by colleagues at Bletchley Park, the UK’s wartime code-breaking centre, he was later prosecuted for “homosexual activities” after he reported a burglary at his home in Manchester.
After police discovered that he was gay, they arrested him under Victorian-era laws against homosexuality. An estimated 49,000 gay men, now dead, were criminalised under the now-defunct Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885.
Everyone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine,” Time Magazine wrote in 1999, after naming Turing one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.


......wartime codebreaker Alan Turing ... was convicted in the 1950s for homosexual activity.The pardon is only the fourth since the Second World War to be granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.It was requested by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who described Turing as a national hero who fell foul of the law because of his sexuality.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2528697/Queen-pardons-wartime-codebreaking-hero-Alan-Turing.html#ixzz2oPpQW85f


U.K. finally pardons computer pioneer Alan Turing.
His code breaking prowess helped the Allies outfox the Nazis, his theories laid the foundation for the computer age, and his work on artificial intelligence still informs the debate over whether machines can think.
But Alan Turing was gay, and 1950s Britain punished the mathematician's sexuality with a criminal conviction, intrusive surveillance and hormone treatment meant to extinguish his sex drive. Now, nearly half a century after the war hero's suicide, Queen Elizabeth II has finally granted Turing a pardon. "Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind," Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said in a prepared statement released Tuesday.
Describing Turing's treatment as unjust, Grayling said the code breaker "deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science." The pardon has been a long time coming.

Wall Street Journal:

Pioneering Code-Breaker was Convicted of Homosexualitylan Turing, a pioneering code-breaker whose work helped the Allies win World War II and laid the foundations for modern computing, was Tuesday granted a royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth II for a 1952 conviction for homosexuality, 59 years after his death.Mr. Turing's pardon caps a long campaign by scientists, lawmakers and members of the public to overturn a conviction for which the mathematician was sentenced to chemical castration and barred from security work less than a decade after he helped crack Nazi...

New York Times:

Alan Turing, Enigma Code-Breaker and Computer Pioneer, Wins Royal Pardon.Nearly 60 years after his death, Alan Turing, the British mathematician regarded as one of the central figures in the development of the computer, received a formal pardon from Queen Elizabeth II on Monday for his conviction in 1952 on charges of homosexuality, at the time a criminal offense in Britain.
The pardon was announced by the British justice secretary, Chris Grayling, who had made the request to the queen. Mr. Grayling said in a statement that Mr. Turing, whose most remarkable achievement was helping to develop the machines and algorithms that unscrambled the supposedly impenetrable Enigma code used by the Germans in World War II, “deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science.”

The 'neural code breaker' (THE) Turing's scientific reach is far and wide including the idea of a universal machine, the eponymous Turing test, chess-playing computers, the mathematics of nature (morphogenesis) and more.

Next year, 2014 is the 60th anniversary of Alan Turing's untimely death -  watch out for an exciting event in London organised by cyberneticist Professor Kevin Warwick as well as release of The Imitation Game  movie, and lots of publications, including a special issue about   'Turing on Emotions' in the International Journal of Synthetic Emotions, Volume 5 - and don't forget you can purchase a DVD of Patrick Sammon's 2011 Turing dramadocumentary Codebreaker with Ed Stoppard playing Turing, from here: Amazon.co.uk. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Imitation Game movie filming at Kings Cross London

Benedict Cumberbatch, seen on the front cover of Time Magazine* this October 2013, plays Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.

October 28, 2013 cover of Time magazine*

Playing Turing's one time fiance Joan Clark, mathematician, linguist/cryptanalyst and a co-worker at Bletchley Park is Pirates of the Caribbean and Atonement actress Keira Knightley. Filming this week has been at Kings Cross station in London.

From the Radio Times:

 - and The Express:

According to Martin Davis's (author of 'The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing') foreword, in the centenary edition of Sara Turing (Alan Turing's mother) book^ Alan M. Turing:

 "Although Alan let her [Joan Clarke] know from the beginning of his homosexual "tendencies", she remained willing to continue the engagement. It was after they spent a week together on a bicycling trip in Wales, that he decided that it wouldn't work, and broke off the engagement. They were, and remained, very fond of one another..." (2012, Cambridge University Press, p. xiii). 

 - book^ available from Amazon :

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Filming of The Imitation Game movie begun at Bletchley Park

The Imitation Game movie, script based on Andrew Hodges book Alan Turing: The Enigma, began filming this week at Bletchley Park, centre of British codebreaking during WWII.

Mark Strong (of Welcome to the PunchTinker Tailor Soldier Spy & Kick-Ass ) joins Watchmen actor Matthew Goode (playing  Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander in charge of  Hut 8 at Bletchley Park, concerned with cracking the Naval Enigma machine code).

Turing, who enjoyed parlour games and created the eponymous Turing test, a conversational examination of machine thinking, deception and intelligence, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, BBC1's 21st century Sherlock Holmes (with The Hobbit's Martin Freeman playing Watson) and the villainous Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness

Cumberbatch as Turing from *Digital Spy

Cumberbatch follows Ed Stoppard who played Turing in the memorable 2011 Channel 4 docu-drama Britain's Greatest Codebreaker (Turing film: http://www.turingfilm.com/ ), and Derek Jacobi in Breaking the Code.

Expected to be released in 2014, the 60th anniversary year of Turing's untimely death in 1954, Cumberbatch's Turing movie may see the brilliant mathematician raised to the heights of the likes of Einstein; about time!

[* Image from Digital Spy here: http://i1.cdnds.net/13/38/618x927/movies-benedict-cumberbatch-the-imitation-game-filming-3.jpg]

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Ray Kurzweil talking the Turing test and how to create a mind

Ray Kurzweil, of the Kapor & Kurzeil long bet (machine intelligence by 2029), author of new book 'How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed' and now Google's Director of Engineering talks Turing's Imitation Game, popularly known as the Turing test, in his interview with Singularity Hub's Keith Kleiner:

From here:

More on Kurzweil here and Kurzweil's role at Google here.


NB: From Kurzweil accelerating intelligence blog tribute to Aaron Swartz:

"If you are a scientist, you can pay the best and most effective tribute to the memory of Aaron Swartz by sharing PDFs of your published work on pdftribute.net via the hashtag #pdftribute on Twitter.
Researchers are now offering open-access versions of their work using this hashtag.
I also suggest to boycott the pay-walled journals of the science mafia and publish on arXiv, or one of the many excellent open access science journals like PLoS andeLife. Hit them in the wallet where it hurts; it is the only effective way to protest.
New Scientist | Hundreds of researchers have been sharing PDFs of their work on Twitter as a tribute to Aaron Swartz, the internet freedom activist who committed suicide on Friday.
Swartz was facing hacking charges from the U.S. government after accessing the network of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and downloading nearly 5 million articles from the digital library JSTOR.
In a statement following his death, Swartz’s parents criticized the Massachusetts U.S. attorney’s office for pursuing charges against their son, and MIT for failing to support him. [NOTE: see also Time | Aaron Swartz’s Suicide Prompts MIT Soul-Searching.]
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, tweeted his own tribute: “Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.”"
Quote from here:  http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-best-tribute-to-aaron-swartz

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