31
August
2009
|
05:54 PM
America/Los_Angeles

Thousands Demand Apology For Prosecution Of Gay Computer Pioneer Turing

The BBC reports that thousands of people have signed a petition calling on the US government to apologize for the prosecution of Alan Turing, a computer pioneer, who committed suicide in 1954.

In 1952 Turing was prosecuted under the gross indecency act after admitting to a sexual relationship with a man. Two years later he killed himself.
The petition was the idea of computer scientist John Graham-Cumming.

He is seeking an apology for the way the young mathematician was treated after his conviction. He has also written to the Queen to ask for a posthumous knighthood to be awarded to the British mathematician.

Alan Turing was given experimental chemical castration as a "treatment"...

BBC NEWS | Technology | Thousands call for Turing apology

Alan Turing is best remembered for his work as a code-breaker during the Second World war. He was part of a team that helped break the Enigma code, building on the work of Polish mathematicians. Breaking the Enigma code was vital in helping the Allied victory.

Alan Turing was also famous for his "Turing Test" a thought experiment in which he envisaged a computer powerful enough that its typed responses could not be distinguished from those of a human.

Mr Graham-Cumming has collected more than 5,500 signatures. He told the BBC:

"The most important thing to me is that people hear about Alan Turing and realise his incredible impact on the modern world, and how terrible the impact of prejudice was on him."

The petition can be found here, however you must be a British citizen to sign it.

Petition to: apologize for the prosecution of Alan Turing that led to his untimely death. | Number10.gov.uk




Zack Whittaker on ZDNet has a written a post looking at some of Alan Turing's achievements: Apology solicited for death of computing founding father Turing