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Turing: Pioneer of the Information Age: Pioneer of the Information Age

Biography / Memoir
Coincides with the centenary of Alan Turing's birth on June 23, 2012
A biography of one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century
Reflects upon all aspects of his life and work
from his important role at Bletchley Park, and his contributions to artificial intelligence, to his tragic personal circumstances and death aged only 41
Considers the legacy of his work today
Written by the leading scholar on Turing's work

By: B Jack Copeland (Author)

192 pages, 20 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Oct 2014 | #214582 | ISBN-13: 9780198719182
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £9.99 $12/€11 approx
Hardback | Nov 2012 | #194751 | ISBN-13: 9780199639793
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £14.99 $18/€17 approx

About this book

June 23, 2012 marks the centenary of Alan Turing's birth, and preparations are being made worldwide for the celebration of his life and work. Turing can be regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. But who was Turing, and what did he achieve during his tragically short life of 41 years? Best known as the genius who broke Germany's most secret codes during the war of 1939-45, Turing was also the father of the modern computer. Today, all who 'click-to-open' are familiar with the impact of Turing's ideas.

Here, B. Jack Copeland provides an account of Turing's life and work, exploring the key elements of his life-story in tandem with his leading ideas and contributions. Turing: Pioneer of the Information Age highlights Turing's contributions to computing and to computer science, including Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life, and the emphasis throughout is on the relevance of his work to modern developments. The story of his contributions to codebreaking during the Second World War is set in the context of his thinking about machines, as is the account of his work in the foundations of mathematics.

Watch an introduction below:


"This book is a worthy tribute to [Turing's] genius"
Irish Examiner

"In-depth description: In 1999, Time magazine named Alan Turing one of the twentieth century's 100 greatest minds, alongside the Wright brothers, Albert Einstein, and Watson and Crick. Who was Turing, and what did he achieve during his tragically short life? Marking the centenary of Turing's birth, here is a short, highly accessible introduction to this brilliant scientist and his work, written by leading authority Jack Copeland. Copeland describes Alan Turing's revolutionary ideas about Artificial Intelligence and his pioneering work on Artificial Life, his all-important code-breaking work during World War II, and his contributions to mathematics, philosophy, and the foundations of computer science. To him we owe the brilliant innovation of storing applications and programs inside the computer's memory, ready to be opened when we wish. With this single invention (known as the "stored-program" concept), Turing changed the world. A distinctive feature of the book is the extensive system of hyperlinks to The Turing Archive for the History of Computing, an on-line library of facsimiles of typewritten documents by Turing and his fellow pioneers of the electronic computer.

My first impression: I've been fascinated by Alan Turing since I first heard about him but I haven't read any of his biographies. Apparently, Jack Copeland is the expert on Turing's life and ideas, so I eagerly look forward to reading this book. I currently have the uncorrected proofs [...], but it still looks good. The book includes a number of black and white illustrations, diagrammes and tables and a number of grainy photographs."

– Grrlscientist, The Guardian, 05-10-2012


1: Click to Open
2: Turing's Universal Machine
3: Sinking Hilbert
4: The Intuitive Mathematician
5: Breaking Enigma
6: Tunny - Hitler's BlackBerry
7: The Colossus of Computers
8: ACE - A Month's Work in a Minute
9: The Manchester "Electronic Brain"
10: Artificial Intelligence
11: The Imitation Game
12: Educating Machinery
13: Computer Chess
14: Artificial Life
15: Epilogue

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Jack Copeland is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where he is Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing. His books include The Essential Turing, Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking Computers, Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine, Logic and Reality: Essays on the Legacy of Arthur Prior, and Artificial Intelligence; and he has published more than 100 articles on the philosophy and history of computing, and mathematical and philosophical logic.

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