Vint Cerf was one of the main forces behind the creation of the Internet as we know it today. He is accorded elder statesman status, but is in fact still very active in the tech world (currently Google’s “Chief Internet Evangelist”). On the centenary of the birth of an earlier tech revolutionary, Alan Turing, Cerf writes for the BBC that the mathematician who broke the Nazis’ Enigma code in World War 2 should be a household name:
I’ve worked in computing, and more specifically computer networking, nearly all my life. It’s an industry in a constant state of innovation, always pushing beyond the limits of current capability.
It is sometimes said that “broadband” is whatever network speed you don’t have, yet!
Things we take for granted today were, not that long ago, huge technological breakthroughs.
Although I’ve been lucky enough in my career to be involved in the development of the internet, I’ve never lost sight of the role played by my predecessors, without whose pioneering labour, so much would not have been accomplished.
This year, in the centenary of his birth, there is one man in particular who is deservedly the focus of attention: Alan Turing.
Turing was born into a world that was very different, culturally and technologically, yet his contribution has never been more important.
His is a story of astounding highs and devastating lows. A story of a genius whose mathematical insights helped save thousands of lives, yet who was unable to save himself from social condemnation, with tragic results. Ultimately though, it’s a story of a legacy that laid the foundations for the modern computer age…
[continues at the BBC]