Technology

Alan Turing's work continues to inspire scientists, says laboratory

Mr Turing's work helped to lay the foundations for modern-day PCs, laptops and smartphones.

Innovation thrives in workforces which are diverse and inclusive, according to the boss of a laboratory where Alan Turing worked.

Mr Turing played a pivotal role in the development of early computers, first at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and later at the University of Manchester.

The design of the new £50 banknote celebrating Mr Turing features the automatic computing engine (ACE) pilot machine which was developed at the NPL. The new banknotes started to enter circulation on Wednesday.

Mr Turing’s work helped to lay the foundations for modern-day PCs, laptops and smartphones.

The NPL said scientists who worked with Mr Turing were inspired by the unique perspectives and innovative approaches that he was able to see.

Dr Peter Thompson, CEO of the NPL, based in Teddington, said: “Alan Turing’s time at NPL and the development of the pilot ACE are an important part of NPL’s scientific history.

“With both Turing and the ACE being depicted pictorially on the £50 note we have a lasting reminder of something we, as an organisation, recognise to be the most significant thing in not only scientific endeavour, but in endeavour in general, that via teamwork and the coming together of different perspectives, we can solve problems and overcome some of the biggest challenges of our time.

“For any organisation, scientific or other, fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce creates an environment where innovation thrives and everybody feels safe and secure in their workplace.”

Wartime hero Mr Turing’s later life was overshadowed by a conviction for homosexual activity, which was later considered unjust and discriminatory.

He was later given a posthumous royal pardon.

Louise Wright, head of digital metrology, said: “Turing’s greatest legacy at NPL was the people he worked with and inspired…

“His ideas around artificial intelligence remain relevant and his work at NPL continues to inspire scientists across the laboratory to deliver confidence in data through the kind of digital technologies that would be unthinkable without his foundational work on stored-program computers.”

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