Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Happy 100th Birthday, Alan Turing. Love, Silicon Valley.

Although the circumstances of his death — considered a suicide, due to persecution over his being gay, although that conclusion has recently been disputed — were tragic, there is no question that computing owes a great deal to Alan Turing.

Britain’s math whiz and famed codebreaker would have celebrated his 100 birthday today. His theories that helped crack Nazi Germany’s Enigma code in World War II might be enough, but Turing pushed the boundaries on machine intelligence and algorithms to levels that changed technology.

The development of the modern computer — including work on the stored program concept — was born from many of his key insights.

No surprise, the doodle today on Google — a company that knows a thing or two about algorithms — today is in tribute to him, a version of Turing’s hypothetical computing machine.

Here it is:

And, if you want to learn more about this tech legend, visit the Web site of Bletchley Park, the location of the secret British codebreaking activities during WWII. Turing worked there, along with 10,000 others — including 5,000 women.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik