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Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine – The Master Codebreaker's Struggle to build the Modern Computer - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine: The Master Codebreaker's Struggle to build the Modern Computer

B. Jack Copeland


The mathematical genius Alan Turing (1912-1954) was one of the greatest scientists and thinkers of the 20th century. Now well known for his crucial wartime role in breaking the ENIGMA code, he was the first to conceive of the fundamental principle of the modern computer — the idea of controlling a computing machine's operations by means of coded instructions, stored in the machine's ‘memory’. In 1945, Turing drew up his revolutionary design for an electronic computing machine — his Automatic Computing Engine (‘ACE’). A pilot model of the ACE ran its first programme in 1950 and the production v ... More

Keywords: ENIGMA code, computer, computer code, computer memory, DEUCE, personal computer, hardware, software, artificial intelligence, artificial life

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780198565932
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565932.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

B. Jack Copeland, editor
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Author Webpage

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B. Jack Copeland

Part I The National Physical Laboratory and the ACE Project

Part II Turing and the History of Computing

5 Turing and the computer

B. Jack Copeland and Diane Proudfoot

Part III The ACE Computers

Part IV Electronics

17 How valves work

David O. Clayden

Part V Technical Reports and Lectures on the ACE 1945–47

21 Notes on memory (1945)

Alan M. Turing

22 The Turing–Wilkinson lecture series (1946–7)

Alan M. Turing and James H. Wilkinson

End Matter