Computer pioneer Alan Turing to be celebrated in film

Alan Turing
Image caption Alan Turing is credited with a key role in breaking wartime German codes

The life of computer pioneer and Enigma code cracker Alan Turing is to be celebrated in a new film commissioned by an arts centre.

Cornerhouse in Manchester is calling for submissions to produce a piece about Turing for the 2012 Abandon Normal Devices Festival.

Bren O'Callaghan, visual arts programme manager, said that the idea was to give Turing "his dues".

"In terms of computing, all roads lead back to Alan," he said.

Alan Turing's centenary is to be celebrated in 2012 and Mr O'Callaghan said that the film would fall in with the national celebrations, while also helping the great man become a household name.

"There are those of us in the know who assume that everyone knows about Turing, but the truth is that there is still a lot of work to be done on raising his profile," he said.

"Alan Turing is a figure of great importance, not just to Manchester but to the world.

"In terms of modern computing and technology, all roads lead back to Alan."

'Alternative takes'

Alan Turing was part of the Bletchley Park team who cracked the Enigma code in World War II and was a lynchpin in the department that produced the world's first modern computer, the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine.

He also invented a test for artificial intelligence, called the Turing test, which is still used to check the sentience of computers.

But a conviction for indecency in 1952 saw him barred from the top level scientific community and he died of cyanide poisoning two years later.

Following an online campaign in 2009, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an apology from the British Government for the "appalling" way Turing was treated for being gay.

Mr O'Callaghan said that he hoped the call would bring in some interesting ideas on how to tell Turing's life story.

"We're hoping for some alternative takes.

"Obviously, there will be documentaries, but we'd love to see something subversive and not totally straightforward.

"It'd be great to have something that totally surprises us and leaps off the page."

Interested film makers have until Friday, 23 September to get their entry to Cornerhouse.

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