On announcing the 2014 budget today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne nodded to late gay codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing, and promised to open an institute in his honour, to lead Britain ahead of other countries in big data and algorithm research.
Mr Osborne announced the 2014 budget in Parliament today and during the speech, said he was “delighted” that Turing had “finally received a posthumous royal pardon.
Turing was prosecuted for gross indecency in 1952, after having a relationship with another man. The mathematical genius and codebreaker was the effective inventor of the modern computer and a key driver behind the victory over the Nazis.
He killed himself in 1954, two years after being sentenced to chemical castration for his homosexuality.
Turing was only offered an apology by the British Government in 2009, and an official pardon was extended on 23 December 2013.
Mr Osborne said: “In my maiden speech here in this House I spoke of Alan Turing, the code breaker who lived in my constituency, who did more than anyone else—almost—to win the war and who was persecuted for his sexuality by the country he helped to save.”
Going on, he announced the soon-to-open Alan Turing Institute, saying: “Now, in his honour, we will found the Alan Turing Institute to ensure that 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.”
He said the £42 million institute will attempt to allow British companies to consolidate experience and knowledge for addressing issues where big data and algorithms are needed.
The Department for Business will fund the institution which may be a new facility, or may be founded within an existing university.