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Alan Turing, Enigma. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Rolf Herken und Eva Lack. 2. Aufl. (German) Zbl 0834.68023
Computerkultur. 1. Wien: Springer-Verlag. vi, 662 p. (1994).
This book is not only a detailed and a very nice description of Alan Turing’s activities, but also his human character and family background. His gifted personality was characterized by the following poem \[ \begin{aligned} & \text{Turing} \\ & \text{Must have been alluring} \\ & \text{To get made a don} \\ & \text{So early on.} \end{aligned} \] His machine which we call now “Turing machine” made a bridge between symbolic logic and real word. His most remarkable achievement of that period of his life is his paper “On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem”. See Proc. London Math. Soc., II. Ser. 42, 230–265 (1936; Zbl 0016.09701) reprinted in “The undecidable” Martin Davis (ed.), Raven Press New York 1965. During his next period of his life he worked for Bletchley Park (British Cryptographic Service). Turing played a leading role in breaking the Enigma cipher machine of the Nazi Germany. That great success was made possible with the aid of an electro-mechanical device so called Bombe and the first electronic computer of the world, which was called COLLOSUS. That devices were based on Turing’s profound knowledge of mathematics and also his sense of constructing devices. After WWII he went to the National Physical Laboratory and later to the Manchester University to work on computers. It is very likely that his moral crisis, his homosexuality, led to his untimely death. He committed suicide in 1954 when he was 42 years old.
Reviewer’s remarks: a) This book is a well written book on the life and activities of Turing. The footnotes give guidance for readers who would like to know further details. b) It is not clear from this book or from any other sources (at least to the reviewer) whether there was any cooperation between Turing and the Poles?

MSC:
68-03 History of computer science
01A70 Biographies, obituaries, personalia, bibliographies
68Q05 Models of computation (Turing machines, etc.) (MSC2010)
68P25 Data encryption (aspects in computer science)
Keywords:
Turing machine
Biographic References:
Turing, Alan Mathison
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