Turing, Alan (1912–1954)
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Alan Turing was a Cambridge-educated mathematician, wartime cryptoanalyst, and pioneering theorist of digital computer technology. His early paper “On Computable Numbers with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” (1937) outlined a universal Turing machine capable of calculating any resolvable algebraic problem. The Turing machine would become the essential model for the programmable computer. Turing joined the British Government Code and Cypher School in 1939 to work on cracking the Enigma machine the German military used to encipher its communications during World War II. Through his efforts, England possessed practically current deciphering of German communications by June 1941. Also during the war years, Turing developed techniques for enciphering speech communications and pursued early speculations on computer automation of chess play.