Alan Turing was a pioneering and iconic British mathematician and computer scientist of global fame. An internationalist, he excelled academically and studied abroad at Princeton University in the USA.
His thinking continues to have significant impact on our lives and serves as an inspiration. As for the Erasmus+ programme, this scheme (which honours his legacy) will provide opportunities for future generations of British students, from all backgrounds to study and work abroad across the globe
Turing is best-known for leading the code-breaking successes at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. However, Turing’s achievements were far broader than deciphering cryptography. Turing was a true computing pioneer. In civilian life, he applied his practical war-time experiences to design the Automatic Computing Engine, the design principles of which underlie modern personal computers.
He was also interested in biology, authoring scientific papers on the chemical basis of morphogenesis. Many view his analytical style as a precursor to the modern discipline of data science. His work with the first generation of computers led to the philosophical principles behind artificial intelligence, used in an experiment known as the Imitation Game or, colloquially, the Turing Test.
The game tasked a human interrogator with deciding which of two players was human, based on written responses to questions. Turing argued that the machine could be said to achieve human-like thoughts if it was impossible to tell the difference between respondents.
Today, the work of Turing resonates strongly with the goals of modern society. His array of intellectual interests and his fearless and collaborative approach mark him out as an inspiration across educational disciplines.
Turing and fellow codebreakers at Bletchley Park featured in the movie “The Imitation Game”starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Turing was a visionary mathematician and computer scientist whose wartime codebreaking work saved thousands of lives. Today, he is regarded as the father of modern computing.
Turing took his own life in 1954, two years after being outed as gay. Homosexuality was still a crime in Great Britain at the time, and Turing was convicted of indecency. While his later life was overshadowed by his conviction and his death from cyanide poisoning, aged just 41, a posthumous pardon was granted by the Queen in 2013.
The Turing Scheme
The Turing Scheme is the new Erasmus+ replacement programme for funded internships abroad, which came about following the UK’s exit out of the European Union. The Turing Scheme provides funding to UK organisations to unlock life-changing experiences across the world for pupils, students, and learners. The Turing Scheme is a UK government scheme, but the UK government works closely with The Turing Trust in order to ensure the scheme aligns with the Trust’s vision of a world with technology-enabled education for all.
Founded by Alan Turing’s family, The Turing Trust seeks to continue his legacy by using technology to empower disadvantaged communities. During the development of the Turing Scheme the UK government has engaged with the Turing Estate to ensure the Scheme honours Turing’s remarkable legacy. The life and work of Alan Turing is also honoured at the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s National Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.
One of the Institute’s initiatives is the Turing Enrichment Scheme. Now entering its sixth year, this Scheme offers students currently enrolled on a doctorate programme at a UK university the opportunity to join the Institute for up to 12 months. The aim is for them to enhance their research through accessing the facilities and opportunities in data science and artificial intelligence available at The Alan Turing Institute and its partners.