Turing was one of the founders of the modern computing industry, and pioneered many of the systems of coding and computational analysis in use today.
However, in 1952 he was tried and convicted of gross indecency after admitting an affair with another man. He was sentenced to chemical castration. Depression over its effects was a significant factor in his suicide two years later.
Now John Graham-Cumming, programmer and founder of Electric Cloud, has set up a petition to demand an apology for the sentence. In under three weeks nearly 5,000 people have signed up, making it the most popular technology petition on the Number 10 site.
"Turing's work has affected us all. He is best known for his involvement in Second World War code breaking (especially for helping to break the Engima code) and if that was all he had done we would be grateful," said Graham-Cumming.
"But Turing was also a critical pioneer of computer science. He defined a theoretical model of computers that holds true today. He suggested how we might determine whether a computer was sentient [with the Turing Test]. His death should remind us how prejudice ruins and degrades."
Under the rules of the Number 10 web site, any petitions that collect more than 500 signatures will receive an official statement. The government recently gave a special award to veterans of the Engima code-breaking team.
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