Alan Mathison [math-uh-suhn] , 1912–54, English mathematician, logician, and pioneer in computer theory.
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World English Dictionary
Turing (ˈtjʊərɪŋ)
Alan Mathison. 1912--54, English mathematician, who was responsible for formal description of abstract automata, and speculation on computer imitation of humans: a leader of the Allied codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War II

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
Turing   (tr'ĭng)  Pronunciation Key 
British mathematician who in 1937 formulated a precise mathematical concept for a theoretical computing machine, a key step in the development of the first computer. After the war he designed computers for the British government and helped in developing the concept of artificial intelligence.

Our Living Language  : Alan Turing—father of computer science, codebreaker, cognitive scientist, theoretician in artificial intelligence—achieved fame in 1936 at the age of 24 with a paper in which he showed that no universal algorithm exists that can determine whether a proposition in a given mathematical system is true or false. In the process of his proof he invented what has been called the Turing machine, an imaginary idealized computer that can compute any calculable mathematical function. The essentials of this machine (an input/output device, a memory, and a central processing unit) formed the basis for the design of all digital computers. After World War II broke out, he worked in England as a cryptanalyst, where he put his extraordinary talents to work on breaking the famous Enigma code used by the German military. By 1940, Turing was instrumental in designing a machine that broke the German code, allowing the Allies to secretly decipher intercepted German messages for the rest of the war. At war's end, Turing was hired to help develop the world's first electronic computer and ultimately designed the programming system of the Ferranti Mark 1, the first commercially available digital computer, in 1948. His guiding principle that the brain is simply a computer was an important founding assumption for the new fields of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. He was making advances in modeling the chemical mechanisms by which genes control the structural development of organisms when he suddenly died, just before his forty-second birthday.
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Slang Dictionary


tar-pit n.
1. A place where anything is possible but nothing of interest is practical. Alan Turing helped lay the foundations of computer science by showing that all machines and languages capable of expressing a certain very primitive set of operations are logically equivalent in the kinds of computations they can carry out, and in principle have capabilities that differ only in speed from those of the most powerful and elegantly designed computers. However, no machine or language exactly matching Turing's primitive set has ever been built (other than possibly as a classroom exercise), because it would be horribly slow and far too painful to use. A `Turing tar-pit' is any computer language or other tool that shares this property. That is, it's theoretically universal -- but in practice, the harder you struggle to get any real work done, the deeper its inadequacies suck you in. Compare bondage-and-discipline language.
2. The perennial holy wars over whether language A or B is the "most powerful".
Computing Dictionary

Turing definition

1. Alan Turing.
2. R.C. Holt & J.R. Cordy cordy@cs.queensu.ca, U Toronto, 1982. Descendant of Concurrent Euclid, an airtight super-Pascal. Used mainly for teaching programming at both high school and university level.
Available from Holt Software Assocs, Toronto.
Versions for Sun, MS-DOS, Mac, etc.
E-mail: .
["Turing Language Report", R.C. Holt & J.R. Cordy, Report CSRI-153, CSRI, U Toronto, Dec 1983].
["The Turing Programming Language", R.C. Holt & J.R. Cordy, CACM 31(12) (Dec 1988)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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