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ALAN TURING — Question

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Hi all, 

 

I have a question. 

ALAN TURING'S contributions to Computer Science helped to the development of the internet?

 

Thanks. 

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Interesting question. 

I can’t think of anything. Most of his work was theoretical, on things like “what functions does a computer need; what problems can it solve”

I am not aware of anything specifically related to network connectivity. Someone who has studied CS might have more ideas. 

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I concur with Strange. Turing was mostly concerned with computability. Whether a computing machine would stop (give an answer in a finite number of steps,) or keep running forever. Work very much related with the mathematics of decidability. The internet, I suppose, indirectly builds on his work, though. As many other advances in science, everything is interconnected.

I suppose Sensei and other users who know far more about computing can tell you more.

Turing was a pioneer. Computer architecture came later, as A.I. The specific advances of the internet have more to do with communication networks than computing itself. Although servers are computers, of course.

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3 hours ago, rejespo said:

Hi all, 

 

I have a question. 

ALAN TURING'S contributions to Computer Science helped to the development of the internet?

 

Thanks. 

Of course it helped.

Although Richard Hamming is rightly credited with developing the organised structure for digital computing, Alan Turing must have known some of this since he was in at the beginning of digital machines, so must have known and used some of this.
By organised structure I mean the combination of several digital units into data 'packets'.
By digital I mean the use of a few definite values, not a continous spectrum of values.

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My recollection is that the beginnings of the internet idea was developed by ARPA (now DARPA) around 1960 or so.  Their version involved connecting various science research  computer facilities and included remote access by outsiders.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, mathematic said:

My recollection is that the beginnings of the internet idea was developed by ARPA (now DARPA) around 1960 or so.  Their version involved connecting various science research  computer facilities and included remote access by outsiders.

Bob Bemer

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3838845.stm

Edited by studiot

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A Touring was more involved with theoretical computing, rather than practical applications.
Hey, maybe every new member should have to pass a Touring Test, to ensure they are not 'bots.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, MigL said:

A Touring was more involved with theoretical computing, rather than practical applications.
Hey, maybe every new member should have to pass a Touring Test, to ensure they are not 'bots.

Building machines to decode enigma seems pretty practical to me?

However I thank the OP for asking the original question since it resulted in my finding out something I did not know about Alan.
His main purely theoretical work, an early prediction of chaotic behaviour, resulted in the discovery of B-Z reaction in chemistry.

Edited by studiot

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, studiot said:

Building machines to decode enigma seems pretty practical to me?

However I thank the OP for asking the original question since it resulted in my finding out something I did not know about Alan.
His main purely theoretical work, an early prediction of chaotic behaviour, resulted in the discovery of B-Z reaction in chemistry.

At one point he worked in/with Bell Labs even. I would still say that others were more instrumental in developing the internet itself.

Edited by Endy0816

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17 minutes ago, studiot said:

Building machines to decode enigma seems pretty practical to me?

However I thank the OP for asking the original question since it resulted in my finding out something I did not know about Alan.
His main purely theoretical work, an early prediction of chaotic behaviour, resulted in the discovery of B-Z reaction in chemistry.

And also explains a lot of things in embryonic development.

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Good question, inspires further reading. My answer at this time is "yes" and "maybe not so much" due to: 

14 hours ago, Strange said:

I am not aware of anything specifically related to network connectivity.

1: AFAIK pretty much each and every component in the internet infrastructure relies on digital equipment governed by principles of computability going back to Turing. From Turings perspective I do not see much difference, in principle, between for instance an internet router and a computer connected to internet. Router and computer carries out instructions in their respective program. So from that point of view; if we say that Turing helped develop computers and contributed to theory of computation then the same can be said about internet.  

 2: I do not know to what degree Turing worked on early theories in distributed computing. If we choose to say that theorems regarding consensus, fault tolerance, routing, topology and others are what was really required for a successful development of internet then "maybe not so much" was contributed by Turing.
(I may need to revisit some topics I've not touched for a while.)

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, MigL said:

Hey, maybe every new member should have to pass a Touring Turing Test, to ensure they are not 'bots.

CAPTCHA is the reverse of the Turing test.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAPTCHA

"Because the test is administered by a computer, in contrast to the standard Turing test that is administered by a human, a CAPTCHA is sometimes described as a reverse Turing test."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Turing_test

..and yes, this website has CAPTCHA during registration..

 

Edited by Sensei

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Posted (edited)

Thank you everyone for your contributions. 

I mean, for example, without Alan Turing's legacy there would be no modern computers and thus no home for the internet to live... you know what I mean? I hope this makes sense. 

I'm reading all of your answers. 

Edited by rejespo

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2 hours ago, rejespo said:

I mean, for example, without Alan Turing's legacy there would be no modern computers

I think that Turing's contributions were very important but computers would have been developed anyway. Possibly in a more ad-hoc or experimental way in some respects.

People were working on computing machines before Turing. One of his major contribution was to the theory of what it is possible to compute (which had been developed by others) by showing that a certain type of computer (a Turing machine) can solve the same problems as any physical computer. And this set of problems is exactly the same  as that which can be computed by any method (the Church-Turing thesis). He also did some important work on the application of computers to information theory (algorithmic information theory).

These concepts were probably important in the development of cryptography and compression algorithms, by helping to define the limits of computation and compression, and these are important to the development of the Internet.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Strange said:

I think that Turing's contributions were very important but computers would have been developed anyway. Possibly in a more ad-hoc or experimental way in some respects.

People were working on computing machines before Turing. One of his major contribution was to the theory of what it is possible to compute (which had been developed by others) by showing that a certain type of computer (a Turing machine) can solve the same problems as any physical computer

Yes I agree, Turing took one of the many steps along the development of IT, he did not invent the Von Neuman architecture (I wonder who did that ?)
Although originally a theoretical mathematician, Turing was also practical as evidenced by rewriting the intensively theoretical Godel theorems into a practical (if gedanken) setting).

But modern IT is about more than just about one thing. It draws together many disparate aspects of technical knowhow.

But it is difficult to list the many who contributed to the drawing together of the many different threads without missing someone out, or how far back to go in engineering history.
For instance what would the internet be like without the modern display screen ?
Should we include the development of these or printers or printing itelf? Fax machine were first invented in 1843.
What about control programs? Turing is credited with the introduction of 'the algorithm'. But Hollerith invented the punch card in 1884.

You need

  1. The laws of combination logic (Boole, De Morgan)
  2. The implementation of these in machines (Babbage, Hollerith, Felt)
  3. Methods of communication between machines (Bell , Bain, Hertz, Marconi)
  4. The formation of 'words' of data from individual combinations.
  5. Standardisation of these words  -  the language  (Bemer)
  6. Moving from mechanical to electromechanical to electronic implementations of data structures (Von Neuman)

So here is my (draft) shortlist of the development, apologies for any omissions.

Babbage  (1791 - 1871) the analytical engine
De Morgan (1806 - 1871) De Morgan's theorem.
Boole (1815 - 1871) Boolean algebra
Bain (1810 - 1877) the Fax machine
Bell (1847 - 1922) The telegraph telephone
Hollerith (1860 - 1921) punch cards Braun
Berliner (1851 - 1929) microphone (inter machine communications) - 1876
Braun (1850 - 1918)  cathode ray tube (inter machine communications)  -  1897
Felt (1862 - 1930) Comptometer 1887
Von Neuman (1903 - 1957) Digital computer architecture.
Bemer (1920 - 2004) Standardisation of digital words.  1961

Interestingly names beginning with the letter B predominate, perhaps that was Turing's crime  -  to start his name with the wrong letter.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by studiot

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8 minutes ago, studiot said:

he did not invent the Von Neuman architecture

*shakes fist* I MEANT TO SAY THAT!!

9 minutes ago, studiot said:

(I wonder who did that ?)

Can I get back to you on that...

10 minutes ago, studiot said:

The laws of combination logic (Boole, De Morgan)

Did you know that De Morgan taught Ada Lovelace?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, studiot said:

Yes I agree, Turing took one of the many steps along the development of IT, he did not invent the Von Neuman architecture (I wonder who did that ?)
Although originally a theoretical mathematician, Turing was also practical as evidenced by rewriting the intensively theoretical Godel theorems into a practical (if gedanken) setting).

But modern IT is about more than just about one thing. It draws together many disparate aspects of technical knowhow.

But it is difficult to list the many who contributed to the drawing together of the many different threads without missing someone out, or how far back to go in engineering history.
For instance what would the internet be like without the modern display screen ?
Should we include the development of these or printers or printing itelf? Fax machine were first invented in 1843.
What about control programs? Turing is credited with the introduction of 'the algorithm'. But Hollerith invented the punch card in 1884.

You need

  1. The laws of combination logic (Boole, De Morgan)
  2. The implementation of these in machines (Babbage, Hollerith, Felt)
  3. Methods of communication between machines (Bell , Bain, Hertz, Marconi)
  4. The formation of 'words' of data from individual combinations.
  5. Standardisation of these words  -  the language  (Bemer)
  6. Moving from mechanical to electromechanical to electronic implementations of data structures (Von Neuman)

So here is my (draft) shortlist of the development, apologies for any omissions.

Babbage  (1791 - 1871) the analytical engine
De Morgan (1806 - 1871) De Morgan's theorem.
Boole (1815 - 1871) Boolean algebra
Bain (1810 - 1877) the Fax machine
Bell (1847 - 1922) The telegraph telephone
Hollerith (1860 - 1921) punch cards Braun
Berliner (1851 - 1929) microphone (inter machine communications) - 1876
Braun (1850 - 1918)  cathode ray tube (inter machine communications)  -  1897
Felt (1862 - 1930) Comptometer 1887
Von Neuman (1903 - 1957) Digital computer architecture.
Bemer (1920 - 2004) Standardisation of digital words.  1961

Interestingly names beginning with the letter B predominate, perhaps that was Turing's crime  -  to start his name with the wrong letter.

Claude Shannon(1916-2001) Father of Information Theory, once teatime companion of Alan Turing :-)

Edited by Endy0816

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On 5/29/2020 at 4:45 PM, studiot said:

ARPA contribution was setting up the network.  I presume, based on your reference, that ASCII was the code used in transmission.  At that time IBM had a competing code called EBCDIC. I don't know the subsequent history.

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Posted (edited)

Some good comments triggered ideas for a new post!

On 5/30/2020 at 11:29 AM, studiot said:

But modern IT is about more than just about one thing.

True.I guess that if any single one name on your list had not been around it would maybe have slowed down development but modern IT would still emerge. And the other way around, no single individual could have created everything needed to have modern IT. Teams, collaborations and/or building on previous work is required.

On 5/30/2020 at 2:34 PM, Endy0816 said:

Claude Shannon(1916-2001) Father of Information Theory

Exelent! Had forgotten about Shannon. I guess a comparison of Turing & Shannon and their contribution to computer & Internet could be done by looking at a pair of their important papers (emphasis mine) 

Turing - "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem"  
Shannon - "A Mathematical Theory of Communication"

 

On 5/30/2020 at 9:44 AM, Strange said:

would have been developed anyway

Would it be too bold to claim that once the concept for computing machines was created it was inevitable that some scientists or engineer will try to connect them? It seems there are similar cases for other historical inventions. Here are analogies (slightly of topic) to illustrate why I think @Strange's comment seemed good an applicable for a more general case

computer - networks, Internet
car - network of roads with gas stations
Ship - harbours and support
Plane - airports within reach

Are there innovations that fits on the left side where there are no concepts matching the right side? Maybe we close to that point for space flight. There are working rockets but yet no established way of maintaining space travel between earth and other celestial bodies.

 

On 5/31/2020 at 4:16 AM, mathematic said:

At that time IBM had a competing code called EBCDIC. I don't know the subsequent history.

I do not know the full story but I've had to consider converting to and from EBCDIC in recent projects (at least two after 2012). AFAIK there's EBCDIC in use in contemporary IBM System z. 

 

*) Not writing this to try to remove any credit from Turing (or other great contributors), it was after all Turing who wrote  "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem". It just means to say that the groundwork done was available so others (one or many in collaboration) could possibly have taken the same steps.

 

Edited by Ghideon
EBCDIC

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On 6/5/2020 at 9:17 PM, Ghideon said:

Some good comments triggered ideas for a new post!

True.I guess that if any single one name on your list had not been around it would maybe have slowed down development but modern IT would still emerge. And the other way around, no single individual could have created everything needed to have modern IT. Teams, collaborations and/or building on previous work is required.

Exelent! Had forgotten about Shannon. I guess a comparison of Turing & Shannon and their contribution to computer & Internet could be done by looking at a pair of their important papers (emphasis mine) 

Turing - "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem"  
Shannon - "A Mathematical Theory of Communication"

 

Would it be too bold to claim that once the concept for computing machines was created it was inevitable that some scientists or engineer will try to connect them? It seems there are similar cases for other historical inventions. Here are analogies (slightly of topic) to illustrate why I think @Strange's comment seemed good an applicable for a more general case

computer - networks, Internet
car - network of roads with gas stations
Ship - harbours and support
Plane - airports within reach

Are there innovations that fits on the left side where there are no concepts matching the right side? Maybe we close to that point for space flight. There are working rockets but yet no established way of maintaining space travel between earth and other celestial bodies.

 

I do not know the full story but I've had to consider converting to and from EBCDIC in recent projects (at least two after 2012). AFAIK there's EBCDIC in use in contemporary IBM System z. 

 

*) Not writing this to try to remove any credit from Turing (or other great contributors), it was after all Turing who wrote  "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem". It just means to say that the groundwork done was available so others (one or many in collaboration) could possibly have taken the same steps.

 

Yes, yes, yes , yes, yes and yes. +1

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