Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Imitation Game

I first heard about Alan Turing in my second year of college when I studied the Turing machine, a computational model invented by him. We also studied 4 other computational models developed independently by other people (for example λ-calculus), but it turns out all of them are equivalent. Turing machines are widely used for different proofs because this model has the most intuitive definition. It's amazing when you realize that every computer that we use nowadays it's in fact a Turing machine (well, apart from quantum computers which are a different beast, but are still quite far from doing significant work). Besides the theoretical work that he did in computer science, Turing contributed a great deal to the war effort in the Second World War by building a machine which broke the Enigma code used by Germans to encript their communication. This helped the allies to find many of their secrets from movement of troops or the routes attacked by U-boats. "The Imitation Game" tells the story of Turing and his team of cryptographers. I didn't see the movie yet, but I saw it has good reviews and I recognized in the trailer some actors I like: Sherlock and the new prosecutor from The Good Wife. Not to mention Keira :)

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