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Alan Turing: The Enigma

por Andrew Hodges

Otros autores: Ver la sección otros autores.

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1,910266,326 (3.93)62
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This classic biography of the founder of computer science, reissued on the centenary of his birth with a substantial new preface by the author, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life. A gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution, Andrew Hodges's acclaimed book captures both the inner and outer drama of Turing's life. Hodges tells how Turing's revolutionary idea of 1936--the concept of a universal machine--laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing's leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic story of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program--all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.… (más)
Añadido recientemente porSepulchre, Arina40, wwj, biblioteca privada, DSMPC, reecejones, julesmoffitt, unitecommonhouse
Bibliotecas de Figuras NotablesEdward St. John Gorey , Norman Mailer
  1. 31
    Criptonomicón por Neal Stephenson (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: Science fiction, but portions are about Turing, and large portions are about codes and encryption.
  2. 10
    The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan por Robert Kanigel (jeroenvandorp)
  3. 10
    Enigma por Robert Harris (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Historical fictional/thriller set in Bletchley Park during WWII
  4. 00
    Alan Turing por Rolf Hochhuth (JuliaMaria)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 26 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
Alan Turing, the enigma. And what an enigma he is. After listning to Hodges book I feel I know him much better and I still think I don't really know him. He was truly one of a kind and he was the square peg for the round hole but his ideas and insights were at times ground breaking. Still he was not the excellent engineer, not the fantastic mathematician, not the wonderful talker, but he was able to step out of those boxes and see a bigger picture than other people.

The book consists of four more or less equal sized parts. His young life, his war life, his post-war computer science life and his life after he moved beyond computers. His early life was dominated by school, first boarding school and then Kings College at Cambridge. During the war he was at Bletchley Park, where he contributed to the machines that broke codes. Exactly what went on there seems to be forever lost, but his contribution was major. After the war he ended up in a resource strapped economy that suddenly focused on administration, not execution, and he was not a good player of that game.

All through this his libido and homosexuality forms a red thread. From losing his first, and maybe only love, as a teenager, to the broken engagement with someone that was more friend than lover, to the hysteria surrounding security risks that cut him off from government work, and of course his conviction in a court for indecent behaviour. Still I get the feeling he never really found anybody who he loved and that loved him back. His private self he kept well guarded.

I would, given my background, have liked more information about his early research, but I guess anybody can look up that. The paper "On Computable Numbers" is available online for instance. I also suspect parts were edited out of the audio book edition because it couldn't have been communicated verbally. It was probably a mistake to not read the paper (or ebook?) version of this work.

All in all I think Hodges has done a good job putting together what information there is to a plausible description of the man. He has clearly read a lot of letters from him and to him, but the amount of people that actually knew him is not that large anymore so first hand accounts was probably hard to get so you get to hear about the quirks, those things that stick in your mind, and not about the ordinary day events. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
This outstanding biography of a unique, outstanding and challenging human being is full of integrity and insight. The author is himself a mathematician / logician, and is able to communicate Turing's work and scientific principles in an accessible yet rigorous way. Plus, the author's broad knowledge of the modern social history of homosexuality brings a good mix of depth, objectivity and empathy to his view of Turing and the essential dilemmas of Turing's life. To label one's subject an "enigma" might seem at first a cop-out. But here it is a forthright statement of the stubborn and mysterious existential inner conflict and puzzle of the man's life, which his genius could not solve. Turing prized truth above all, but had the same subjective longings as all of us, that defeat logic at every turn. One of Turing's achievements was to prove the uncomputability of certain values; this book does the same for a life. ( )
  oatleyr | Aug 22, 2020 |
The question if you will like this book basically comes down to one decision: Do you actually want to know the technical and scientific details of what Turing did? If yes, this is the book for you. It contains a lot of details on why the concept of Turing Machines was invented, which problem they solved, how the cryptoanalysis of the Enigma worked, et cetera. If you get bored already thinking about this, stay away from this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. In places it gave a bit too many details, but those were usually long descriptions of his private life and philosophical excursions of the author. As for the nitty-gritty technical details, the book gave a LOT of details (which I wanted). It's still a tad shy of explaining the whole cryptoanalysis process that led to breaking the Enigma, but it gave enough details to get an understanding of how the concept worked.

If this sounds like a book for you, go ahead and buy it. You will probably not find a better book for this purpose. Just be prepared to read a lot of personal History of Turing (which is to be expected for a biography) before you get to the technical stuff. ( )
  malexmave | Oct 3, 2019 |
Valt tegen. Veel quasi blabla over denkende machines. Niet duidelijk of de biograaf het zelf allemaal begrijpt. Hij doet alsof maar kan het niet overbrengen bij mij. Pseudo-jargon zonder uitleg. ( )
  stefanbrouwer | Aug 21, 2019 |
If I were not deeply interested in the history of computer science in general, and Alan Turing in particular, I think I'd find this book rather dull.

I did want to know more about his relationships with his fellow students, co-workers and friends, but frankly the movie was more revealing on those points.

I enjoyed the book, but be warned, a lot of the interesting bits are in the math and in knowing what the profound implications of his early research were to become. As the Father of modern Computer Science we all owe a debt to this man. ( )
  nora_in_vancouver | Dec 31, 2018 |
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Andrew Hodgesautor principaltodas las edicionescalculado
Silverman, RobertDiseñador de cubiertaautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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A son of the British Empire, Alan Turing's social origins lay just on the borderline between the landed gentry and the commercial classes.
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It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This classic biography of the founder of computer science, reissued on the centenary of his birth with a substantial new preface by the author, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life. A gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution, Andrew Hodges's acclaimed book captures both the inner and outer drama of Turing's life. Hodges tells how Turing's revolutionary idea of 1936--the concept of a universal machine--laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing's leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic story of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program--all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.

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