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A good book about the father of computer Alan Turing

Alan Turing: The Enigma - Andrew Hodges, Douglas R. Hofstadter

This book is published in the 80s. But because of the "Imitation Game", it gets popular again.


And it is good that it got popular that I got the chance to read this.


On the first 100 pages are all about Alan schooling and first love.

 

He loved his childhood friend Christopher, who died before Alan has the chance to grow up and tell him how he feels about him.

 

But the love is there. Obviously.

 

Alan was kind of lonely. The world is a wonderful strange place with lot of discovery. But getting friend or companion wasn't easy for Alan. Who was clumsy and shy. 

 

150 pages in.

 

He got fellowship in Cambridge and could do whatever he wanted for 3 years.

 

But he wanted to go to Princeton. 

 

Moving on, he thought of math logically. And want to build a machine that do logical thing. It will follow table and the logic is right there. 

 

200 pages in.

 

Britain was at war with Germany. Alan Turning was recruited to Room 40, the cryptography division. The Bombes are used to decipher war time communication.   

 

300 pages in.

 

Alan Turing went to America to help their team to build machines to read ciphers. Cool. Important work, but still within the regime that he was best at, linking theory with very practical stuff. 

  

400 pages in

 

 

The war was finally over. Alan Turing could now go back to work in his Turing machine. 

 

Edward Carpenter, a gay Cambridge mathematician, wrote Homogenic Love in 1895, wrote about free and simplification of life. 

 

540 pages in

 

Alan was a bit down and out as his ACE project didn't go the way he wanted. The project was changed and scaled down and he was no longer in control of direction. 

 

He did nominated and admitted as Fellow of Royal Society for Computable numbers. He still wrote papers. But he was not going along well with the direction of advance mathematics, that doing math for math itself. He was more interested in how math could be actualized in real life. So he hadn't kept up with reading the latest papers, or attending conferences. He was also not that much in touch with his family, with only visits twice a year. But his mother was very proud of his FRS status. 

 

The ending.

 

Alan Turing was robbed. The police, instead of helping him, arrested him for being a homosexual. 

 

He got a royal pardon in 2013 Dec. A formal apology by the PM in 2009.

 

But all of this is to late. The stupid religious based law robbed the world of a rare genius. Think of how the world would be, if he was alive for another 30 years. What would he had accomplished.

 

Given that he was not that easy to work with, but he was internally good. And as long as one captured his attention, he would participated, and get his hands dirty if the job required that of him,

 

He would be a lovely man, maybe even a husband of a good partner. 

 

I like this book. This is how to understand a great man. The ending is a bit to sad to read. But the rest of the book, the details are great.