Alan Turing

The modern computers and the thought of artificial intelligence can be traced back to the world of Alan Turing. For the computers to work, the appropriate program that is stored in the computer’s memory has to be opened. However, the current efficiencies in artificial intelligence can be traced to works of numerous scientists in the world. The most notable one is Alan Turing who came in at the time when the world needed the artificial intelligence in the most opportune manner; the World War Two period. The earliest computers developed by both the British and the Americans did not have the same efficiencies that are manifested in the modern computers. Early computers were essentially incapable of meeting the overall needs of the users unless the user was capable of inputting the best commands and coding the outcome to increase the overall output. Failing to develop the right flip of switches would lead to entirely different outcomes. Most of the machines had to be wired by hand whereby there were intricate processes of setting the cables and reorganizing the entire wiring of the machines. The basic idea of artificial intelligence lies in the ability of the user to control the machines through the codes instructions that are capable of eliminating the human impact in the entire working of the machine. The idea of coding the instructions is based on the ideals of Alan Turing.

Type of service
Type of assignment
Academic Level
Number of pages
Total price: $ 00.00

Alan Turing made the first move towards the development of the artificial intelligence through the development of the Universal Turing machine. The universal computing machine was abstract at the time. It was made of limitless memory such that the scanner could move through the memory and scan the data and instructions that had been stored there in. The machine was capable of moving forth and from reading the coded messages and adding new symbols into the overall code. It was designed to add new computations through the insertion of the new programs into the overall memory enabled the machine to transform itself and meet the needs of the user at the given point in time. It had the chameleon-like capabilities that made it worthy of being considered as a source of artificial intelligence.

The universality of the abstract machine developed in 1936 was drawn from the understanding that the machine can accomplish virtually any task that had to be fulfilled through the rote method. This idea was different and quite revolutionary at the time. During the moment of the conceptualization, the mode of operation adopted by the engineers was based on the development of different machines for different tasks.

Turing was a pioneer in the development of the universal machines. His conceptualization of the machine had come way before time. However, the wartime developments necessitated the creation of a machine that would work based on the ciphers used by the Nazis. The combination of efforts between the British and the Americans can also be perceived to have increased the dedication towards the creation of best computing technology of the time. Turing was instrumental in the development of the hardware based on the abstract machine that he had conceived in his mind. The group located and the national physical laboratory in Teddington London was charged with the development of the best artificial intelligence-based computer at the time. The first product that came from the labs was automatic computing engine that was based on the proposed electric calculator report.

Turing also inspired another innovative mind of the period. He had met the Hungarian-American mathematician John von Neumann who also believed in the development of the universal stored program computing machine. The mathematician had come to learn about the Turing machine before the onset of the war. His encounter with Turing at Princeton University also increased the understanding of the machine and the concept of artificial intelligence.  The wartime period also informed the development of the high speed digital electronics. He wrote the paper on EDVAC, which stood for electronic discrete variable computer. However, Neumann had a more abstract concept compared to the Turing report of 1945 on the automatic computing engine. The difference between Turing design and Neumann design was the fact that the former’s was more detailed and had more impact. The engineers that designed the EDVAC machine for the Americans were more reliant on the Turing report than on Neumann report.

In addition to his work in the artificial intelligence fields, Turing was involved in the development and completion of the artificial intelligence design used to decipher the coded messages used by the Nazis. The Nazis had perfected the communication method based on the Enigma machine. However, Turing created Bombe in 1939, which was used as a deciphering basis.  He was only involved in the design of the machine while the completion work was done at the British tabulating machine company. The initial design was named victory and was used in 1940. Later, an improved version built on the Gordon Welshman’s diagonal board was installed later that year. The later version was referred to Agnus Dei.

Bombe operated based on trial and error. The machine had been developed to work in the similar way that any computing machine of the time worked. However, the purpose was narrow and considerably specialized. It was capable of locating the position of the Enigma machine used by the Germans at high speed that could not be matched by the human computers. The machine could provide potential locations which were tested on a replica of the Enigma machine.

Bombe design was based on the relays even though the improved versions operated electronically. The electronic version was faster than the relay version since they did not have moving parts. Electromagnetic relays were based on the opening and closing of the electronic gaps through creation and destruction of electromagnetic fields. The designers of the replica of enigma were based at Dollis Hill. The main head of the coding station was Max Newman who had inspired Turing in the development of the first research on mathematical logic and its impact on the creation of computable numbers. The developer of the first electronic computer was Flowers who had used the Turing Bombe machine to decode the messages sent using the Enigma system.

However, the breaking of the Enigma code was not necessarily a victory in the artificial intelligence. The Germans developed better and stronger machines known as Lorenz which was introduced into the market in 1941. Turing was also charged with the breaking of the coded message sent using the machine. The devised a method referred to as Turingery which was used into cryptanalysis of the codes sent from the new and more advanced machine.

Turingery method was simplistic but ingenious.  The method entailed the development of the stream of the letter which Turing referred to as delta. The letter stream is developed from adding the adjacent letters together. The method was instrumental since it was capable of unveiling the information that was hidden from the common eye. Delta-ing method has been used in the development of the algorithms used in the Colossus computer developed by the British during the same period.

Colossus had been the first large-scale electronic computer as the declassified records of the war indicated in 2000. The computer had been capable of a large scale amount of flexibility, but it had not attained the universality that Turing had envisioned in 1936 concept of a computer. The machine also did not store any instructions and relied upon the feeding of information manually by the different operators. The development phase of the Colossus entailed the intimation of the possibility of universality. However, the designer of the Colossus computer was incapable of understanding the method that Turing had conceptualized hence the decision to stick to the switches method that had been used before and found to be working. 

Turing had identified the different limitations that the current technology had. He noted that if there was any chance of improving the functionality of the entire system, it was hinged on the development of the computing speed that was higher than the current one and the creation of computers that would have the memory to store instructions.  He designed the Automatic Computing Engine after educating himself on the electronic engineering. The first design of the ACE is similar to the modern design of the Reduced Instruction Set Computers. The design had a high speed such that it mirrored the same speed of the early Mackintosh computer.

ACE has a different design compared to EDVAC. In the latter case, the computer had a central processing unit that was used for the storage of the information. The ACE machine did not have the central storage location. It had temporary storage locations that had specified functions. The logical and numerical operations could take place at virtually all locations. ACE had been designed to use the simplistic instruction as opposed to the EDVAC, which was designed to use complex and mathematically significant instructions. Turing thought that the solution to complex issues was to be attained through the complex programming as opposed to the development of complex equipment to match.

The design of ace increased the reliability of the machine since it was capable of increasing the program execution. Turing had designed the machine in a manner that each instruction was at a selected location as opposed to a consecutive memory. In this case, the user was capable of accessing each instruction at the moment when it was needed. The lack of delays in the retrieval process led to the increase in speed to what was never normal. The fast memory used in accessing the commonly used numbers has led to the development of the random access memory for the fast operations. This aspect of design is instrumental in the development of the modern computers.

The NPL was faced with numerous challenged. On one hand, there was the demand for the people to develop the actionable machines that would be later used in the creation of the anticipated outcomes. However, there were administrative challenges and difficulties in the development of the hardware based on the Turing concept. The interim between the design and the actual development provided an opportunity for the creation of the first inroads in the computer programming. The test assembly was also developed during the period. Turing often argued that the universal computing machine was too abstract a concept to be realizable. The ACE machine has more reliable and practical. Therefore, the idea of running a computer that was based on the program stored in the memory had been translated into the ACE design even though it had not been entirely transferrable. The concept of storing computer programs in memory was also adapted by the Americans most notably by Von Neumann who publicized the concept through talks and publications.

Von Neumann was the first individual to create a large-scale electronic computer based on programs. The dream envisioned by Turing in the 1936 abstract universal computing machine had been realized. It was more likely that the machine would perform since he had relied extensively on some of the most important observations by Turing during his time with the royal army. He adopted the concept of a short memory for the recording of repetitive commands. He also relied on the initial design that had been introduced to him by Turing during their time together at Princeton. 

In conclusion, the Turing method has been adopted across different parts of the divide. The method was first used in the development of IBM 701, which was later used as a foundation for the computer designs. Most of the innovations that are manifested in the modern computers have been based on the ability of the researchers to build on the developments that had been advanced way before their time. The most important development was the conceptualization of universality and adaptability of the computers. Today, artificial intelligence can be perceived to be a success of the above conceptualization since the machines can think for them and adapt their commands to suit the new environment.

Need an essay?
We can easily write it for you
Place an order

Related essays