When considering the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, Alan Turing probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. On June 23, 2012, Google sought to change that with a Doodle in his honor. On what would have been his 100th birthday, Google created a live action illustration of the Turing Machine, the British mathematician’s theoretical device that “formalized what it means to compute a number.” Although not an actual machine, the Turing is a “thought experiment that allowed for the advent of digital computing,” according to TechCrunch. Turing, who worked as a code breaker during World War II, is also widely revered as the father of artificial intelligence.
Google’s version of the Turing Machine offered users twelve interactive programming puzzles. Google’s Doodlers said they initially struggled to represent Turing’s abstract work, and they “went through a lot of designs before finding one that seemed workable.” The Doodle team completed more user testing and iteration for Turing’s logo than for any past Doodle. I Programmer lauded the Doodle for demonstrating “all of the ideas of programming—conditionals and loops, data and storage—and the idea of a stored program machine.”
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