On this day in history - May 28th, 1936

On this day in history - May 28th, 1936

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Alan Touring, the father of artificial intelligence, finishes his essay On Computable Numbers. The essay established the principle of the "Touring machine," an algorithmic basis for modern computing. Today's CPU's operate on the ideas of On Computable Numbers.

Touring also goes down in history for his work during World War II. He worked in Bletchley Park at Britain's Government Code and Cypher School decrypting German naval messages. These messages were encoded by the infamous Enigma machines, thought for years to be an unbreakable method of communication. Touring's efforts in Hut 8 at Bletchley led to the creation of the Bletchley Bombes, large primitive computers designed to calculation positions of Enigma machine rotors.

It is said that the breaking of the Enigma machine code shortened World War II by two years or more, particularly in the Battle of the Atlantic, where Kriegsmarine submarine positions could be obviously determined.

After the war, Touring continued his work on modern computing. In 1952 the British government accused him of homosexual acts, a crime at the time. Instead of jail time, Touring opted for chemical castration. In 1954 Touring was found dead in his home; the cause of death was ruled suicide by cyanide ingestion. Some theorize that Touring accidentally inhaled the cyanide after a gold-plating experiment in a tiny bedroom.

Queen Elizabeth II granted Touring a posthumous pardon for his homosexual charges in 2013.