Saturday, September 12, 2009

Treatment of Alan Turing was “appalling”

Arnar Birgisson, a former MSc student of mine who is now a PhD student at Chalmers, pointed out to me that last Thursday Gordon Brown issued a statement "recognising the “appalling” way he [Alan Turing] was treated for being gay." The piece of news may be found here.

It is understandable that Gordon Brown's statement focuses on Turing's work on breaking the German Enigma codes. However, I find it suprising that Turing's role in the development of computer science does not deserve any mention at all in the apology.

The statement ends as follows:

"So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better."

So long, and thanks for breaking the Enigma code, devising the Turing machine and the universal Turing machine, building some of the earliest programmable computers and all the rest.....

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