Fachschaft Mathematik/Informatik

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Alan Turing on Britain's new £50 note

10 Sep 2019 10 Sep 2019

A few weeks ago, the Bank of England announced that Alan Turing will be the new face on Britain’s £50 note.

Concept of the £50 note

As Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, states in the original article: “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today. As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Turing’s work is among the most important work in computer science. An example are the-socalled Turing machines introduced in his 1936 paper “On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem”. More information about his life and his work can be found in the Wikipedia article about Alan Turing.

Of course, other famous scientists were submitted to the selection comittee, including Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. Both worked closely together. Lovelace is often regarded as the first person that recognized the general application of computers besides pure calculation. She also published the first algorithm that was designed to be run on a mechanical computer designed by Babbage. However, as the latter was never completed, Ada’s algorithm remains untested. A list of the final 12 candidates can be found in the aforementioned article.