Free Geek Providence rescues computers from the landfill by restoring them with open source software and donating them to organizations and individuals who cannot otherwise afford them.
In this landmark month for the state of Rhode Island, Free Geek Providence is proud to honor the father of Computer Science, Alan M. Turing. Despite his contributions to computer science and the success of the Allies of the Axis in World War II, his subsequent persecution by the 1950's British government for his personal life would ultimately cut his life short. Thankfully, his legacy lives on.Turing made lasting contributions to Mathematics and Logic, not the least of which was his hallmark Turing Machine, a theoretical device that based on rules could read and manipulate data on storage “strip”. The Turing Machine would form the basis for designing the modern CPU. This concept would be applied to his work on his development of the earliest computers until the time of his death. As if this contribution were not enough, during World War II Turing served the military as a cryptanalyst. He applied his mathematical and engineering genius to deciphering the German Navy’s encrypted communications. His work at the famed Bletchley Park would break the unbreakable, the German Enigma cypher. This work would ultimately turn the tide of the war to Allied victory and would earn Turing the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his intellectual heroism. Sadly his faithful and heroic service would not spare him from the institutional bigotry towards homosexuals in the 1950s that would strip him of his credentials, rightful accolades, dignity, and ultimately his life. After prosecution under British law and persecution thereafter, Alan M. Turing would take his own life at the age of 41. In 2009, the British government issued a posthumous apology for his treatment at their hands. In 2012, which would mark the 100th anniversary of Turing’s birth, bills were put forward in Parliament to grant Turing a statutory pardon. Though supported by luminaries no less than Stephen Hawking, they have yet to be enacted. Given the passage of Marriage Equality in Rhode Island this is an auspicious time that calls for the remembrance of those who suffered under social intolerance and state persecution for simply being who themselves. That across the world, especially in the world of geekdom, Turing is honored as a pioneer and hero, we yet have hope that society looking inward can redeem itself from its mistakes and secure a better and fair future for all. Learn more about the work and legacy of Alan Turing: