Vint Cerf, one of the godfathers of the internet, has said he hopes this year's celebrations honouring the memory of computing pioneer Alan Turing will help turn him in to a household name – and finally give him the recognition he deserves.
Writing for the BBC, Cerf said Turing's work had 'lit the way' for everyone involved in the IT industry.
“His is a story of astounding highs and devastating lows. A story of a genius whose mathematical insights helped save thousands of lives, yet who was unable to save himself from social condemnation, with tragic results,” said Cerf.
On 23 June, Turing would have celebrated his 100th birthday. To mark the occasion a series of events have been organised, including the Turing Centenary Conference in Manchester and an exhibition at London's Science Museum, which is displaying many artefacts from Turing's time at Bletchley Park.
“I hope it will help make Turing a hero and household name beyond the technical community that reveres his memory,” said Cerf.
Cerf said that the first computer he ever programmed was a Bendix G15, which was inspired by the Automatic Computing Engine (Ace) Turing had worked on at the National Physics Laboratory.
Turing's remarkable theories and practical designs had laid the foundations of modern computing, said Cerf.
“His clarity of thought and creative genius infused those with whom he worked. His conceptual notions, such as the Universal Turing Machine, provided the basis for serious analysis of computability and decidability,” he said.
Campaigners have previously called for Turing to be granted a posthumous pardon and to be commemorated on the next design of the £10 note. But there is little indication that those in government share the UK IT industry's respect and admiration for one of the country's greatest ever thinkers.
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