Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician who made a huge impact by proposing a calculator that really did make life easier. In 1936, Turing published a manuscript on the theory of universal computation, which opened the way for a new kind of computers. In 1945, he joined the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). His main goal was to create and develop a new type of calculating machine. He outlined this goal by making a report called "Proposed Electronic Calculator", which later know as Ace - the Automatic Computing Engine -. In this report Turing described detailed specifications of the future computer. The design would have a high speed memory of around the same capacity as an early Macintosh computer, which was considered quite high in his time. Turing's report also dealt with software issues and predicted the non-numerical application of computers. For his calculator, Turing used two key ingredients: speed and memory. These two qualities were the indicators that made his invention more appealing and long-lasting than others. Unfortunately, the engineering aspects of Turing's design were too difficult for his colleagues at NPL. Throughout 1946 and 1947, several attempts to assembly a group of engineers to build Ace failed. This lack of progress in building his first calculator made Turing very angry and lead to his departure from the NPL. The first version of Ace was finished in 1950 in his absence.
Turing's early proposed invention did not go unnoticed though, and had a crucial role in the development of other early computers in U.S. and the U.K. Turing himself collaborated in a computer project while at Manchester University that lead to the construction of the first commercially available computer, the Mark I in 1951. Moreover, his design was fundamental for the MOSAIC system invented by Emma Biggs. MOSAIC played a key role in Britain's air defenses during the Cold War. Hence, the computers had an impact in our society shortly after they were invented.
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