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Friday, September 11, 2009

Posthumous Apology For Alan Turing

Alan Turing was a mathematical genius and some would consider him a war hero for his cracking of the German Enigma machines in World War II, allowing the allies to decipher encrypted messages sent by the enemy. Turing also made significant contributions to the advancement of artificial intelligence and is well known in the field of AI for the test he envisioned would determine whether or not a machine was intelligent, The Turing Test. Unfortunately for Turing, he was also a gay man in a time when there was no acceptance for the sexual preference. Turing was imprisoned for his sexual orientation and would later take his own life.

Yesterday British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized for his country's treatment of Turing saying "While Mr Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him."

The apology came after an online campaign, the idea of computer scientist John Graham-Cumming and backed by Ian McEwan, scientist Richard Dawkins and gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Source: BBC