Alan Turing Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The majority of the material consists of published papers, and there is no original correspondence within the archive. The material comprises:

  • NAHC/TUR/A: Biographical and Personal Papers, 1948-1975;
  • NAHC/TUR/B: Copy Correspondence, 1950;
  • NAHC/TUR/C: Working Papers and Reports, c 1950s;
  • NAHC/TUR/D: Publications, 1935-1953.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alan Turing (1912-1954) made two outstandingly original contributions to the development of computer science: his paper On Computable Numbers (1936) outlined a theoretical universal machine (or Turing machine), an idea which was more fully developed in his brilliant design for the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE), built after the Second World War at the National Physical Laboratory. He was also an important figure in the Colossus codebreaking operations at Bletchley Park during the War; made contributions to programming the Manchester University Mark I computer in the early 1950s; researched the subject of morphogenesis in plants at Manchester University; and from time to time explored the problem of machine intelligence. His impact on computer science, however, remains controversial. Turing's unorthodox personality and the brilliance of his ideas have many admirers; yet some computer scientists are sceptical about the actual impact of his ideas which, partly due to Turing's personality and social factors, were not widely disseminated.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Manchester University Computer Science Department, courtesy of Professor D.B.G. Edwards. Material collected by Professor Simon H. Lavington.

Related Material

See also GB 133 NAHC/MUC and NAHC/NPL. Cambridge University, King's College Archive Centre holds the main collection of Turing's correspondence and papers, 1923-54 (ref.: GB 0272 PP/AMT). Cambridge University, Trinity College Library holds correspondence between Turing and A.E. Ingham.

Bibliography

B.E.W. Carpenter and R.W. Doran (eds), A.M. Turing's ACE Report of 1946 and Other Papers (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1986) and Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma of Intelligence (London: Burnett Books/Hutchinson Publishing Group, 1983).