Google is marking the 100th birthday of the "father of computer science and artificial intelligence" with a special Google Doodle. Read on for more about Alan Turing and the Turing Google Doodle - and use your Plusnet broadband to give it a whirl … Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of British scientist Alan Turing, and search giant Google is marking the occasion with a special Turing Google Doodle.
Who was Alan Turing?
Alan Turing was a mathematician, scientist and cryptanalyst, and he's best known for his contribution to the development of the computer and his code-breaking efforts during World War II. After studying mathematics at Cambridge University, he returned there to teach and work in the area of quantum mechanics. It was while he was at Cambridge that he developed what's now known as the Turing Machine, a device that helped him to prove that not all maths problems could be solved by automatic computation. The Turing Machine is widely recognised as forming the basis to modern computer theories. Turing moved from Cambridge to the USA's Princeton University for a couple of years, but returned to the UK in 1938 and began working as a cryptanalyst at the Government Code and Cypher School, which had its headquarters at Bletchley Park. He played a key role in helping to decode German messages during the Second World War. In later years, he turned further towards the idea of developing machines and designed a blueprint for what could have become the first digital computer, but his employers at the National Physical Laboratory rejected his idea. However in 1949, he became the Director of Manchester University's computing department and secured his place in history by working on scientific research projects which would later advance the development of Artificial Intelligence. Scientists working in the world of A.I. are still working towards developing computers that can pass what's known as the 'Turing Test' - meaning that people will be unable to tell whether they are speaking to a machine or to another person - although in a report Plusnet commissioned from the Centre for Future Studies earlier this year, experts believe this could happen within the next 15 years.
What's the Turing Google Doodle all about?
The Turing Doodle is an interactive doodle on Google's homepage and celebrates Turing's code-breaking achievements by presenting visitors with a puzzle to solve. When you first look at the Turing Google Doodle, you'll see that the Google logo is grey. Your job is to work out how to get the Google logo to light up. Give it a try and see how long it takes you to work out how to do it - and no cheating! Although if you're really stuck, you'll find some helpful people have already posted instructional videos for solving the conundrum on YouTube. Have you managed to solve the Google Doodle? Let us know…