Would Alan Turning have invented the computer without WWII???

Would Turing still have invented the computer without WWII

  • Yes of course, the man was a genius

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, he was to different and ahead of his time to be taken seriously

    Votes: 4 80.0%
  • Yes. But only to keep EoR's collection of naughty photo's on

    Votes: 1 20.0%

  • Total voters
    5
Mar 2010
9,842
#1
Well, he was a mentally unstable gay man living in 1940's Britain not the sort of thing that leads to university grants and offers of sponsorship. It was Britain's "All hands on Deck." attitude to the war that gave men like Turing their time to shine.

However his genius was beginning to be recognised before the war and he may have found some success had it not occurred
 
Nov 2010
7,594
Cornwall
#2
I thought Charles Babbage in generally considered to have invented the computer concept?

Turing worked out code-cracking. He was only a junior clerk in the office that did such things at Bletchley Park. As such he was wholly unknown at the time, as was any lifestyle.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,074
#3
I am not sure about the mentally unstable bit. (but I am no expert on that part of his life)

Turing was not a junior clerk in the code breaking but one of the known major talents. (within BP)

But i you;d not say he invented the computer but one of a team who developed one of they major early competing devices. there were in other teams in other countries. Without the war none would have really got the pushing along but there were people thinking about this stuff.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,721
Stockport Cheshire UK
#6
Turing was a genius, but the computer he helped design was in response to a war time problem and without the war it's unlikely the funding would have been made available.
 

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
#7
It was also essentially a mechanical computer, and such things existed one way or another well before Turing, although never so powerful.

The "computer" Turing "would design without WW2" would be, in many ways, a dead end. Binary was no mystery before Turing, and the computer revolution as we know it only happened because of transistors.

Otherwise, your "personal computer" would take over 5 floors of a large house and would run for minutes between breakdowns. Even Windows ME did better than that. Some days :)
 
Jun 2015
5,713
UK
#8
Necessity is the mother of invention, I guess. I doubt it, he may have developed some theories that people picked up on years later. Like how Tesla is said to have been more brilliant than Edison, when Edison is still better known for his inventions.
 
Oct 2012
8,545
#9
He developed computability theory before the war, which was really his biggest contribution to the field, not the consulting work he did on the building of the first computer. I think it was inevitable that the first computer would have followed close on the heels of the development of computability theory, as it essentially provided the form for the first computers (a tape, a head, a state register, and an instruction table). Of course, without the war and the funding from the British government, it may have taken a few more years before the first computer was built and Turing may or may not have been involved in the project, it's hard to speculate.
 
Oct 2009
3,523
San Diego
#10
Well, he was a mentally unstable gay man living in 1940's Britain not the sort of thing that leads to university grants and offers of sponsorship. It was Britain's "All hands on Deck." attitude to the war that gave men like Turing their time to shine.

However his genius was beginning to be recognised before the war and he may have found some success had it not occurred
He was NOT mentally unstable-

This was a myth that came about because, at the time, homosexuality was considered a form of mental aberration. And because he was found to have died of poisoning and assumed to have killed himself.

But there is actually little evidence that he was depressed or suicidal... and it is a fact that he may have accidentally poisoned himself because of the electroplating chemicals he was handling in his experiments at his home lab.
Although he understood that plating solutions contained potassium cyanide- he may simply have not been careful enough and not realized that cyanide is a CUMULATIVE poison... that is- it is not excreted by the body and tiny exposures can build up over time to a fatal level.
They found traces of cyanide on an apple he had been eating- but then, had they tested, they likely would have found traces of cyanide on everything that Turing handled when his hands were contaminated.


He did not invent the computer- he invented a method of brute force computational analysis that could be done with ELECTRICAL circuits, acting as boolean logic gates.

Charles Babbage invented the first 'computer' as a purely mechanical system- essentially a more complex version of the famous "Curta Calculator"- and Ada Lovelace had developed the first algorithm, as a means showing that Babbage's 'engine' could be configured to solve a wide variety of problems as a series of nested calculations. These were the beginning of 'computer' science in the form of representing real world problems to solve in the form of a computational algorithm.

Turnings machine was not entirely electronic- because the electrical circuits had to operate physically moving switches and relays of that era.... but it was able to eliminate the geared 'difference' calculators of Babbage's engine, and pointed the way to the development of solid state electronic computing machines.

However- It must be said that Turing's efforts were a refinement of a Polish design for breaking the enigma code.


And it should be pointed out that the origins of the computer and binary representation of information was preceded by the Holorith Tabulator, before that by the Jacard Loom... and before that, by the pegged cylinders and 'programmable' cams that were used to run Clarion belfry's and elaborate animated clockworks all over Europe.
 

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