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United Kingdom Data Storage IT

UK To Create Alan Turing Institute 62

Posted by samzenpus
from the brand-new dept.
kc123 writes "The UK government has announced plans to create the Alan Turing Institute intended to tackle problems in Big Data. The government will provide £42m over five years for the project. Turing was a pivotal figure in mathematics and computing. His codebreaking work led to the cracking of the German 'Enigma' codes. In December 2013, after a series of public campaigns, Turing received a posthumous royal pardon, for a conviction of homosexual activity in 1952."
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UK To Create Alan Turing Institute

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  • The Alan Turing Institute For Automated General Spying, nice acronym too.
    Cheap shot I know, except that the real name will be more hypocritical.

    • by Stellian (673475)

      Cheap, effective, but maybe incorrect. Seems more like a bullshit proposal from a politician spewing buzzwords he can't understand:

      We will found the Alan Turing Institute to ensure Britain leads the way again in the use of big data and algorithm research.
      "I am determined that our country is going to out-compete, out-smart and out-do the rest of the world."

      The government said that big data "can allow businesses to enhance their manufacturing processes, target their marketing better, and provide more efficient services".

      Let's hope some good research can come of this, it's not like basic science research is included in the budget of any corporation. Of course, it's unlikely that any of it will directly help UK, with maybe the sole exception of keeping talented researchers in the country.

  • They don't do research on chemical castration.. I say They'd rather give his name for an institute dealing with individual privacy and the fundamental right "to be" ..
  • by KliX (164895) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @03:25AM (#46531761)

    Great, naming an institute doing something intellectually repulsive after him. How little things change.

    • It really depends on what the product will be used for, doesn't it. I mean you don't need to name a public institute to do that. You could just as well hire people into GCHQ. So my guess is that it's nothing to do with intelligence as such; simply the government trying to pick a winner for the future. And as we know, government is absolutely terrible at doing that. It's £42 million down the drain I suppose.
  • "I am determined that our country is going to out-compete, out-smart and out-do the rest of the world."

    I dunno, for a Britisch chancellor to say that in 2014... I dunno.

  • I hope that those data will be use in good outcome.
  • Isn't a "pardon" implying he did something wrong? I'm not British, but I feel the word "pardon" means someone did something bad and was forgiven... Shouldn't it read "Turing received a posthumous royal Apology"? Ah, but royalty is "never wrong", right? ;o)
    • Re:Pardon?! (Score:4, Informative)

      by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Thursday March 20, 2014 @06:46AM (#46532385) Homepage
      Strictly speaking, all a pardon does in UK law is remove the burden of the sentence. It is not a declaration of innocence and basically means nothing more than a get-out-of-jail card. Historically it was only used where it had practical effect, where someone was subject to a sentence of death or was still in prison. More recently, it has been used for things like pardoning deserters shot during WWI.
      • by dkf (304284)

        Strictly speaking, all a pardon does in UK law is remove the burden of the sentence.

        In Turing's case, there'd also been an official apology previously, and so there was no official reason to issue an apology along with the pardon. (There won't be a declaration of innocence because he admitted committing what was a crime at the time. The myriad problems with the case weren't with the law as such, so much as everything else around it.)

        It's a good thing that the law in this area was changed, even if it was changed later than some might have wished for.

        • It's a good thing that the law in this area was changed, even if it was changed later than some might have wished for.

          It's a pity the law was made in the first place...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      At the time he did it, what he did was a crime. Now, you may argue that it shouldn't have been (and I would agree with you), but the fact that it has become legal now does not mean that he did not break the law as it stood at the time.

      In the same way, I'm fairly sure that alcohol smugglers imprisoned under Prohibition weren't all released from jail when it was overturned.

    • The government issued an apology several years ago.

      And yes, he did something wrong according to the law at the time, regardless of whether the law has since changed or societies feelings toward such a law has changed - are we to go through every single conviction back to the dawn of time to pardon and apologise to every single person in the same situation every time a law changes?

      Alan Turing isn't special, he's just famous. And he gets an apology and a pardon because of it.

  • It's about time the Brits recognized Alan Turing. Without his Enigma and other crypto accomplishments, you might be speaking German.
    • by Misagon (1135)

      This new institute for spying tech is not the first research institute named after Alan Turing.

      The Turing Institute [wikipedia.org] was a laboratory for Artificial Intelligence in Glasgow, founded in 1983 and closed down in 1994.

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