Happy Birthday, Alan “Big Gay Al” Turing!

Photo: Alan Turing

Alan Turing is the man. He developed the concept of the Turing Machine, which helped helped solidify the concepts of the algorithm and computability, came up with the Turing Test, broke German WWII ciphers, worked on one of the earliest true computers and has earned a place as one of the Giants of Computer Science. He’s been honoured with a computer language named after him (although he’d be appalled at the language itself).

Alan was gay at a time when being so was considered to be a mental disease and acting so was a crime. His career ended when he was outed and was convicted for gross indecency. He was given a choice between imprisonment and chemical castration; he chose the latter. Not long afterward, he was found dead at his home, apparently from suicide.

For his work, which created that field that is my work, my hobby and my passion, I’d like to wish Alan Turing – whom I call “Big Gay Al” as a nickname of endearment – a happy birthday. I salute him with a filet mignon on a flaming sword!