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Heroic enigma

Alan Turing's Bombe

Wartime codebreaker, computing pioneer, mathematical genius and LGBT icon – Alan Turing means much to many people.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Turing joining the University. A remarkable individual, Turing had helped to end World War II before being appointed Reader in the Mathematics Department.

As Deputy Director of our Computing Laboratory he worked on one of the earliest true computers and set the standard for artificial intelligence with his Turing test.

Turing lived at a time when one’s sexuality could result in a criminal conviction, and his life ended early, in tragic circumstances. His incredible legacy, however, lives long after his death, in academia and society as a whole.

Alan Turing's Bombe - electro-mechanical device used by British cryptologists to help decipher German Enigma-machine-encrypted secret messages during World War II

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