TODAY SEES THE release of The Imitation Game, the hotly anticipated biopic about World War II code-breaker Alan Turing, seen by many as one of the pivots that marked the turning point of the conflict.
Working at the Bletchley Park listening post, Turing found the key to decoding "undecodeable" messages from the Nazi encryption engine Enigma.
His achievement allowed British forces to mount attacks on complacent Nazi forces which believed that their moves were still secret.
Turing was never given the recognition he deserved during his lifetime, in part because of the confidential nature of his work, but also because he was convicted for offences related to homosexuality, which was still illegal in the UK at the time.
Turing was chemically castrated and ended up committing suicide aged just 41.
Turing received an apology from the UK government in 2009 before finally being pardoned at the end of last year, but even then some campaigners felt that a pardon was insulting as he had done nothing wrong in being gay.
As well as Turing's intelligence work, which is said to have reduced the length of the war by up to four years, he was also one of the godfathers of modern IT.
The Universal Turing Machine solidified concepts such as algorithms, and his university thesis, Systems of Logic Based on Ordinals, formed the very concept of computation as we know it.
The Turing Machine, a forerunner of the modern CPU, set 20th century computing on its way, and was voted the most important British invention in a poll for London's Science Museum last year.
Benedict Cumberbatch, star and 'Hunky Holmes' of the hit BBC series Sherlock, has already received rave reviews for his portrayal of Turing as the film goes on general release throughout the UK today.
Coinciding with the release, Google has confirmed that it is taking over the sole underwriting of The Turing Award, given to "an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community".
The award, previously co-funded by Google and Intel, is also having its prize money quadrupled to $1m which puts it on a par with the money awarded to Nobel prize winners. µ
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