Alen-Turing

UK: Government To Grant Posthumous Pardon To Gay Codebreaker Alan Turing

Joe.My.God. reports:

Famed WWII codebreaker Alan Turing will be granted aposthumous pardon by the British government. Turing committed suicide after being convicted of gross indecency under Britain’s anti-homosexuality code. 

The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to “chemical castration”. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. “If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons,” Ahmad said. The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.

Turing is considered by many to be the father of computer science.

Two researchers in the Netherlands helmed the construction of a LEGO Turing machine, a quirky manifestation of the classic computer science concept first devised by Alan Turing in 1936.

The device, built by Jereon van den Bos and Davy Landman using a single LEGO Mindstorms NXT set, is one of the most impressive — and simple — attempts we’ve seen at building a physical Turing machine.

Alan Turing’s original model has an infinite tape,”

write the researchers, “but LEGO had a slight problem supplying infinite bricks. So we chose to fix our tape size to 32 positions.”

The Turing machine was a purely theoretical concept. Several attempts at crafting LEGO Turing machines have been made in the past, with varying levels of success. And a fanciful mechanical Turing machine built by Jim MacArthur was unveiled in 2011 at Maker Faire UK.

Turing would have turned 100 years old this Saturday. Events are being organized worldwide this year to commemorate the centennial of the computer scientist’s birth.

The LEGO Turing machine is currently on display as part of a Turing exhibition at the Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica in the Netherlands.


The Science Museum in London is also unveiling a special exhibition this week in honor of Turing, titled Codebreaker. At the center of the exhibition is the Pilot ACE computer, thought to be the most important surviving physical artifact left by the computer scientist