Called the father of modern computer science, Turing is most famous for conceptualizing the Turing machine, an abstract machine or primitive computer that has the ability to reduce any mathematical process to a series of simple steps, and then perform it. As the play reveals, however, this is only one of a number of Turing's contributions to science. He also devised the Turing Test to explore the limits of artificial intelligence (a machine "passes" the Turing test when it fools a person into thinking, based on its conversational skills, that it is human); he helped England break German naval codes in World War II; and he modeled biological processes such as plant structures using mathematical formulas like the Fibonacci sequence. The play communicates his complex ideas through Turing's character as he tries to convince his colleagues of the importance of his work.
Pure is less about Turing the mathematician, however, than it is about Turing the man. Pamatmat first became enamored with Turing after reading David Bodanis's book Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity,which suggests that Turing's passion for science was fueled by his homosexual love for a childhood friend, Chris, who died from tuberculosis when Turing was a teenager. Pure suggests that Turing may have turned his attention to artificial intelligence—a field that explores, at its core, the meaning of life—to celebrate Chris's life and let it live on in his work. In almost every scene, Turing has a brief conversation with the dead Chris; it later becomes clear that the entire play is set in the hazy moments before Turing's death, when he is hallucinating or perhaps communicating with Chris's spirit in the afterlife.
Great post from Abe N. Margallo (Red's Herring) on the Neri v. Senate Case: Is the Supreme Court clueless of the meaning of oversight?
New on the blogroll is Atty. Rodel E. Rodis (Telltale Signs) of the San Francisco City School Board.