Celebrity X-Files: Alan Turing | commemorating the 110th anniversary of Turing's birth

Popular science in China2022-06-23 19:24:02

Allen · Turing (Alan Turing), British computer scientist 、 Mathematician 、 logician 、 Cryptanalogists and theoretical biologists , Known as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence .1912 year 6 month 23 Sunrise was born in London, England ,1954 year 6 month 7 He died after eating an apple soaked in cyanide solution .

Turing's life , Always put science above everything , For Mathematics 、 cryptanalysis 、 logic 、 Philosophy and mathematical biology , And computer science 、 Both artificial intelligence and cognitive science have made important contributions .

1950 year , Turing published an epoch-making paper ——《 Computing machines and intelligence 》(Computing Machinery and Intelligence), In this paper, it is proposed that “ Can machines think ?” The question of , And predicted the possibility of creating a truly intelligent machine . Turing believes , Computers will eventually be able to think like humans , Turing test is proposed to evaluate whether the machine has intelligence . Now , This paper is widely regarded as the basis of artificial intelligence research .

meanwhile , Turing is also quite accomplished in cryptography . During the Second World War , Turing designed some techniques to speed up the decoding of German passwords , Including the improvement of the machines developed by Poland before the war Bombe, Successfully cracked the cryptosystem Enigma.

Besides , Turing is also a world-class long-distance runner , His best marathon result was 2 Hours 46 branch 03 second ( Manual timing ), Only than 1948 London Olympic Games men's marathon champion Delfo Cabrera slow 11 minute .

On Turing's birthday 110 Anniversary , Academic headlines would like to commemorate this great 、 A scientist with a rough fate .

110 Year of “ today ”,1912 year 6 month 23 Japan , Turing was born in an ordinary civil servant family .

at that time , Probably not even Turing's parents would have thought of , Their children will do one great job after another for human science in decades .

Turing's life is shining .

His Turing machine model , It lays the foundation for the logical working mode of modern computer .

He was in the Second World War , Successfully deciphered the German cryptosystem Enigma.

He only graduated from college a year later , He was elected a researcher at King's college, Cambridge University .

He was 《 natural 》 The magazine praised that “ One of the most scientifically minded figures of all time ”......

Turing's life was also unfortunate .

He was persecuted by the British government at that time because of his homosexuality , Career ruin .

He died strangely after eating an apple soaked in cyanide solution ......


16 Year old Turing

Alan Mathison Turing


/ The inventor of the universal Turing machine /

Turing showed great talent from an early age , Crazy about numbers and puzzles , After that, it can't be received .

1931 year , Turing entered Cambridge University to study mathematics .1934 After graduating with honors in , Turing's contribution to probability theory , He was elected a researcher at King's college, Cambridge University .

In the eyes of mathematicians , Solve the problem “ It works ” Method , In fact, only one human mathematical clerk is needed (mathematical clerk) A method that can be solved by rote learning . In the age of Turing , Those who memorize by rote are actually called “ Human computer ”, They did some of the work that was later done by computers .

Decision making issues (The Entscheidungsproblem) Find an effective way to solve basic mathematical problems , That is, to judge which mathematical propositions are provable in a given formal mathematical system , What is not provable . The method of judging this is called decision-making method .

1936 year , Turing's seminal paper 《 On computable number and its application in decision problems 》

(On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem)

American Mathematical logician Alonzo · church (Alonzo Church) Recommend Publishing .

In the paper , Turing put forward the famous “ Turing machine ” Assumption , Any proposition in logic is represented and calculated by a general machine , And can deduce the conclusion according to certain rules , Generally speaking, the inference result is : Functions that Turing machines can compute are computable functions , Otherwise, it is an Uncomputable function .

Church was a doctoral tutor after Turing , Although he reached the same conclusion before Turing , But Turing's argument is easier to understand and intuitive , Universal ( Turing ) The concept of machine is also more novel . Turing's method has far-reaching significance to the emerging computing science .

1937-1938 year , Turing spent most of his time at Princeton University , Under the guidance of Qiu Qi, he obtained his doctor's degree . Turing's paper introduces the concept of supercomputing , The Turing machine is added with the prophecy machine , It makes it possible to study problems that Turing machines cannot solve .

/ The code breaker /

After graduating from Princeton , Turing returned to King's College London , Then he joined the British government communications headquarters .

And a few weeks ago , The Polish government provided Britain and France with the main cipher machine used by the Polish military to encrypt radio communications Enigma The details of the .


1930 Turing of the s

As early as 1932 year , One by Marian Rejewski The Polish mathematician cryptanalysis team led by him successfully deduced Enigma The internal connection of .

1938 year ,Rejewski The team has designed a kind of equipment called Bomba A password breaker for .Bomba The success of depends on the German operating procedures , but 1940 year 5 month , Germany has changed the original operating procedures ,Bomba It's not working .

therefore , stay 1939 In the autumn of 1940 During the spring of , A group led by Turing redesigned a related 、 But very different code breakers , And named it Bombe.

During the Second World War ,Bombe It provided a great deal of military intelligence to the allies . To 1942 Beginning of the year , Brecelli Park ( The main place where the British government conducts code breaking work ) The information intercepted by the cryptanalysis personnel every month has reached 3.9 Ten thousand , This figure rose to 8.4 ten thousand .


Cipher machine Enigma


Password cracking machine


1942 year , Turing also proposed the first systematic approach , To decipher the more sophisticated German cipher machine ( The British call it “Tunny”) Encrypted information .

Turing was also awarded the order of the British Empire for his great contribution to the work of code breaking .

/ Computer designers /

1945 year , Turing was recruited to the National Physics Laboratory in London (NPL), The task is to make an electronic computer . His automatic computing engine (ACE) Design is the first complete specification of electronic stored program general purpose digital computer . If you make it exactly as Turing planned ,ACE Will have much more memory than other early computers , It's going to be faster . however , Turing's colleagues thought the project was too difficult , So he built a much smaller machine , namely Pilot Model ACE.

The result of that ,NPL stay “ Build the world's first working electronic stored program digital computer ” I lost the competition , This honor was won by the computer laboratory of the University of Manchester .

Turing pair NPL Feeling frustrated at the delay , In the same year, he joined the computer laboratory of the University of Manchester , Served as deputy director of the laboratory , Responsible for the earliest real computer —— Software work for Manchester one .

Turing put forward the theoretical concept of universal Turing machine in his early days , From the very beginning, it had a fundamental impact on the Manchester computer project . After Turing came to the University of Manchester , The main contribution to the development of computer is to design an input-output system by using the technology of brecelli park , And the corresponding programming system is designed —— Later it was used in the first commercial electronic digital computer Ferranti Mark I in . Of course , Turing also compiled the first programming manual .


Turing statues in Bletchley Park

1952 year , Turing wrote a chess program . But at that time, no computer had enough computing power to execute this program . therefore , Turing imitated the computer , Each step takes half an hour , He played a game with a colleague , The result is : This program lost .

later , The research team of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States based on Turing's theory , stay ENIAC The world's first computer program for chess was designed on the —— Los Alamos chess .

/ Pioneer of artificial intelligence /

Turing's life , Always put science above everything , Very interested in New Technology .

In the field of artificial intelligence , Turing is the founder of artificial intelligence and modern cognitive science , yes “ The human brain can be seen to a large extent as a digital computer ” Early proponents of this hypothesis .

In Turing's view , The early cerebral cortex is just a “ An unorganized machine ”, But it will become more... Through the day after tomorrow's training “ Organized ”, And then evolved into a general-purpose machine or something like that .

Turing hopes that computers will become more and more intelligent through training , So I spent a lot of time to study the algorithm 、 The development of complex computer systems and artificial intelligence , And other scientists' questions about intelligent machines .

1950 year , Turing published an epoch-making paper ——《 Computing machines and intelligence 》(Computing Machinery and Intelligence), In this paper, it is proposed that “ Can machines think ?” The question of , And predicted the possibility of creating a truly intelligent machine .

In order to better verify whether a computer can speak natural language like a human , And the difference with human beings cannot be found , Turing proposed the famous Turing test , That is, if a machine can talk to humans without being identified as a machine , This machine has intelligence .

What's interesting is that , Turing at that time believed that , The computer is expected to be in 2000 Passed the Turing test around . But unfortunately , This prediction did not come true .


1951 Turing of the s

/ The unfortunate /

1951 year 3 month , Turing is a member of the Royal Society of London , This is a high honor , But his life has since become very difficult .

1952 year , Turing's same-sex partner and an accomplice broke into Turing's house to steal , But the results of the British police investigation led him to be charged with prosecution “ Obvious indecency and sexual reversal ” sin ( Homosexuality was a crime in Britain at that time ).

After the public trial , Turing faced two choices : Be in jail , Or get female hormone injections “ therapy ”( Chemical castration ). Turing chose a year long estrogen injection . Side effects of estrogen injection , Turing, who loved sports, suffered great physical and mental damage .

Therefore , Turing can no longer work for the British government communications headquarters .

from 1951 Until his death in , Turing has been making artificial life (artificial life) Research on direction .1952 year , Turing published 《 The chemical basis of morphogenesis 》 A Book , Describes his research on the development of biological forms and patterns , The chemical mechanism of anatomical structure formation of animals and plants he hypothesized was simulated by computer .

In this pioneering work , Turing died from eating apples soaked in cyanide solution . At that time, many people thought he ate the apple intentionally , And concluded that he committed suicide .

however , Turing's accidental death , Usually associated with the hormones he received after being accused of being gay “ Treatment ”, Although he died more than a year after stopping the hormone injection . But from the autopsy report , There is no evidence that Turing intended to commit suicide , There is no evidence that Turing has mental problems .

No matter what , The world has indeed lost a person who could change the world .

/ / / / /

2009 year 9 month , One more than 3 Ten thousand people signed the petition , Forcing British Prime Minister Gordon · Mr Brown (Gordon Brown) Publicly received for Turing on behalf of the British government “ It's totally unfair ”(utterly unfair) Apologize for your treatment .

4 After year , Queen Elizabeth II of England pardoned Turing .

This is Turing , A great and unhappy life .

Reference material :


本文为[Popular science in China]所创,转载请带上原文链接,感谢