The brilliant mathematician Alan Turing OBE, FRS, worked at the top-secret code breaking centre at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. He created the so-called BOMBE cryptanalytical machine that was able to crack the codes of German naval messages. This almost certainly shortened the war and neutralised the effectiveness of the German U-boat fleet operating in the North Atlantic.
The news was announced as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s budget speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Turing was described by the chancellor as, “the person who did more than any other single person to win the war.”
The Institute’s main purpose will be to focus on new ways of collecting and analysing large amounts of computer based information, known as big data. Interested parties and universities will be able to bid for funding to set up the Turing Institute.
During his speech Mr Osborne declared that the Institute will ensure Britain leads the way in the use of big data and algorithm research.
He went onto say that big data can, “allow business to enhance their manufacturing processes, target their marketing better, and provide more efficient services. Britain will out-do, out-smart and out-compete the rest of the world.”
Sadly, Alan Turing was arrested for “gross indecency” in 1952 and was eventually chemically castrated because of his homosexuality. He died two years later from poisoning. It was thought a possible suicide but there were doubts and it could have been a tragic accident.
He received a posthumous Royal pardon in 2013. Now, almost 60 years after his death, it is a fitting tribute that his name is attached to an institute that will help Britain stay at the forefront of computer research.