Lead: A brilliant, well-respected, but at times controversial academic mathematician, Alan Turing helped crack the German Enigma codes in World War II.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After study at King’s College, Cambridge and a Princeton Ph.D., Turning had laid the theoretical foundation for the modern programmable computer. In a dazzling insight, almost a casual aside, in a footnote, he described in theory that one might construct an automatic machine that given the correct input or instructions, could do just about anything requiring computation. The device, later dubbed the Turing Machine, would read a series of ones and zeroes recorded on tape. These numbers would tell the machine what to do to solve a problem or perform a task. In the rather rigid world of computer theory at the time this was revolutionary. Up to that point most computers were dedicated, they were designed for a particular, usually narrow purpose. Turing was suggesting another approach. Later his idea would come to fruit as engineers would create a universal piece of computer hardware that could be told to do many different tasks by its software.

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