The BBC is celebrating the Turing centenary with a series of commissioned essays on the importance of Alan Turing and his work, kicking off with today's essay by Vint Cerf, co-creator of the Internet and Google's "Chief internet evangelist." Cerf has been awarded the Turing prize by the ACM.
Turing's legacy continues to evolve, astonish, challenge and excite. His insights and fearless approach to daunting problems set benchmarks for decades to come.
His clarity of thought and creative genius infused those with whom he worked. His conceptual notions, such as the Universal Turing Machine, provided the basis for serious analysis of computability and decidability.
His practical realisations of computing engines, special systems like the bombe and general purpose ones such as Ace, shed bright light on the feasibility of purposeful computing and lit the way towards the computing rich environment we find in the 21st century.
Had he lived to see 2012, one wonders what his thoughts might be and what new ideas he would challenge us to think about.
As my own journey into computing and networking continues to unfold, I find myself wondering and wishing that Turing were still around to consult.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.