A Turing Colleague from Bletchley Park Gets New Recognition

(15-10-10) Welchman Exhibit PhotoA wartime colleague of Alan Turing is getting new recognition for his important codebreaking work. A recently opened exhibit at Bletchley Park recognizes the vital contributions of Gordon Welchman. He’s also the subject of a recent BBC documentary. The Bletchley Park exhibition was inspired by Joel Greenberg’s biography, Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence.

Like Turing, Welchman was a Cambridge mathematician when he was recruited to join the British codebreaking effort before the outbreak of war. Welchman made an important improvement to Turing’s 1939 Bombe design. The Turing-Welchman Bombe was an electromechanical device that aimed to discover the daily settings of the Enigma machines used by German military forces for its coded communications. The Register reports that, “Welchman adapted Turing’s Bombe designs to create the workable machine for decrypting German military messages through a de(15-10-10) Gordon Welchman Picturevice known as the ‘diagonal board’. He also established and headed Hut Six, which decrypted more than one million German messages over the course of the war.”

His wartime colleagues described Welchman as inventive and inspiring. One colleague reportedly said he was, “one of the most original minds I have ever known.”

A statement from Bletchley Park announcing the exhibit’s opening says, “After the war ended Welchman continued to be a major influence on the modern world, emigrating to America where he brought the computer age to air traffic control, developed digital computers and taught one of the first ever computing courses. His work prefigured cloud computing.”

The Register reports “In 1982, Welchman – in his book, The Hut Six Story – published more details of the traffic analysis the Bletchley-based codebreakers had committed. The details…led to…GCHQ describing him as ‘a disastrous example to others’, and Greenberg suggested the agency was particularly sensitive to the revelations of its traffic analysis programme.”

Welchman died 30 years ago at age 79. His granddaughter Jennifer attended the exhibition’s opening in late September. She said, “I’m thrilled to see my grandfather’s work recognized here at Bletchley Park, the scene of his proudest achievements.”

Historic Letters Shed New Light on Alan Turing

A new book includes several previously unpublished letters written by Alan Turing in the years before his death. The letters provide important insights into Turing’s life and state of mind as he endured the impact of government imposed chemical castration treatments.

CODEBREAKER Now Offered in Four Languages on iTunes

CODEBREAKER is now available on iTunes with subtitles in three languages, in addition to the original English language narration.

News Stories about CODEBREAKER

Here are some recent news stories and interviews about CODEBREAKER.
In January of 2015, Executive Producer Patrick Sammon wrote a post about the film for The Bilerco Project. Sammon wrote, “The film’s drama scenes and documentary elements combine to offer a three-dimensional picture of Alan Turing, his accomplishments, his tragic end, and his lasting legacy…. Read More


CODBREAKER is now available on iTunes in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom. People in the US and Canada can use this link to rent or buy the film. People in the UK should use this link to see the film on iTunes.
Plans still are being finalized to… Read More

Reaction to Turing’s Pardon

The Queen’s posthumous pardon of Alan Turing has received a strong response from around the world. Here’s a summary of reaction to the pardon from politicians, pundits, and Turing experts.
British Justice Minister Chris Grayling requested the pardon from Queen Elizabeth II. He said: “Dr Alan Turing was an exceptional man with… Read More

The Queen Pardons Alan Turing

Queen Elizabeth II has issued a Christmas Eve pardon of Alan Turing. British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said Turing deserved to be “remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort” and not for his 1952 criminal conviction for having a sexual relationship with another man. After the conviction, Turing was forced to… Read More

CODEBREAKER Now Available on DVD

The DVD of CODEBREAKER is now on sale!

Turing Set to Receive Pardon

The British Government says it will support efforts to give a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing. This important development was announced on Friday as the House of Lords was debating a bill to pardon Turing.
Here’s more from the Daily Mail. “In the House of Lords yesterday, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a… Read More

Bletchley Park Renovations Start Soon

Work soon will begin on a major renovation of Bletchley Park — the wartime home for Great Britain’s codebreaking effort. Alan Turing was at the heart of the effort to crack Germany’s Enigma code. Historians say the British codebreaking effort shortened the war by two years and saved millions of lives.
In the decades… Read More

Turing Film Nominated for GLAAD Award

CODEBREAKER has been nominated for a 2013 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor U.S. media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. “This nomination is a great honor,” says Patrick Sammon, one of… Read More

Turing Film Wins Award in Europe

CODEBREAKER has received the Audience Award at the 2012 European Science TV & New Media Awards. The Film’s director, Clare Beavan, accepted the award at a late November ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal.
The European Science TV and New Media Festival took place last July in Dublin, Ireland. The event featured two dozen science… Read More

Turing Film Set for U.S. Theatrical Premiere

TODpix, in conjunction with Story Center Productions and Furnace, announces the U.S. Theatrical Premiere of CODEBREAKER in Washington, DC on October 17, 2012 and New York City on October 25th. “We’re excited to offer this compelling and unique new film to American audiences,” says TODpix President Andrew Fogelson. “It’s an incredible story that will… Read More

Turing Film In the News

A public radio program in the United States recently featured a segment about CODEBREAKER. “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” a nationally syndicated show broadcasting on 180 radio stations in the US, examines the big ideas impacting our world. This week’s program focused on Alan Turing’s life and legacy. The show… Read More

Turing Film Receives Recognition in Europe

CODEBREAKER is receiving accolades in Europe from several quarters.
The film is a finalist to receive two awards from The European Science TV & New Media Festival.  The mid-July festival in Dublin, Ireland showcased science films from across Europe.  CODEBREAKER is one of three finalists being considered for a Jury Award and one of four finalists… Read More

Turing in the News

In recent weeks, there have been a number of excellent radio programs, interviews, and videos about the life and legacy of Alan Turing. Here are links to some of them.

Professor David Leavitt, featured in CODEBREAKER and the author of a Turing biography, was interviewed during a recent episode of Science Friday on National… Read More

Turing Committed Suicide: Case Closed

By Patrick Sammon & Paul Sen
The evidence is clear that Alan Turing committed suicide on June 7, 1954.  A recent analysis by Professor Jack Copeland aims to call this conclusion into question.   Based on previously public information and new research that our team conducted during the production of CODEBREAKER, we believe… Read More

Turing in the Spotlight in Parliament

Alan Turing was in the spotlight this week at a hearing in the British Parliament. Julian Huppert, the MP for Cambridge, led a discussion about Turing’s life and legacy and how the United Kingdom should do more to recognize his contributions to the world.
The MK News featured an article about the… Read More

Turing Film Ratings from Australia

Some good news from down under! The ratings are in from Australia. CODEBREAKER had an average audience of 327, 000 viewers. The Alan Turing film broadcast Friday night June 8th on SBS One. Of those people watching TV in the five capital cities at the time CODEBREAKER was shown, 7.3% were watching… Read More

Remembering Alan Turing

In the week leading up to the centennial of Alan Turing’s birth on June 23rd, there have been a lot of interesting articles about Turing and his contribution to our modern world.
BBC.com features six articles about Turing examining his life and his legacy. Vint Cerf, a Turing Award winner and Google’s Chief internet… Read More

Honoring Alan Turing

June 7th marks the 58th anniversary of Alan Turing’s tragic suicide. His life was short, but his legacy lives on. Here are some quotes about Alan Turing from people we interviewed for CODEBREAKER:
“The things that he contributed to computer science weren’t the things that just happened to be true in one particular year… Read More

Codebreaker Scheduled to Broadcast in Australia

SBS One will broadcast CODEBREAKER next week in Australia. The hour-long version of the film is scheduled to transmit on Friday June 8th at 9:35pm (Sydney time). The broadcast in Australia will come just one day after the 58th anniversary of Alan Turing’s suicide.
SBS is a highly respected Australian public television network with… Read More

Alan Turing’s Intellectual Roots

Part of CODEBREAKER focuses on the time that Alan Turing spent at Sherborne School, a boarding school in Dorset, England. Turing attended the school from 1926 until he started at King’s College, Cambridge in 1931. The film features newly uncovered information about the books he checked out between 1928 & 1931. The… Read More

Turing’s Cathedral

A new book about the origins of our digital universe is getting wide news coverage around the globe. Historian George Dyson’s book is called Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe. Check out a recent interview with Dyson on MSNBC.
Here’s how the book is described on Amazon.com: “’It is possible to… Read More

A.I. Pioneer Wins Turing Award

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has named Judea Pearl winner of the 2011 Turing Award, the highest honor in computer science. Pearl, a Professor at UCLA, developed two branches of calculus that paved the way for modern artificial intelligence.
Pearl told US News & World Report, “I think the voice recognition systems that… Read More

Pardon for Turing to be Reconsidered

The Commons leader says he’ll take another look at the British Government’s decision to deny a pardon to Alan Turing, but it’s not likely the outcome will be different. Sir George Young offered to re-examine the case after being lobbied by Tory MP Iain Stewart who holds a seat in Milton Keynes south, which… Read More

New Exhibition Shows Personal Side of Turing

Bletchley Park has opened a new permanent exhibition of some personal items that belonged to Alan Turing. Bletchley Park was the codebreaking center where Turing worked during World War II. The items on display include a teddy bear that Turing bought in school, a treasured Swiss watch, and a book that… Read More

Watch New Trailer for Turing Film

Here’s a new two-minute trailer for the Alan Turing film.  CODEBREAKER is the title we have selected.  Stay tuned in the months ahead for details about the worldwide distribution plan for this drama-documentary.

New Research Validates Turing’s Morphogenesis Theory

More evidence today showing how far Alan Turing lived ahead of his time. Researchers in London have announced confirmation of Turing’s 60 year-old morphogenesis theory. The findings also advance the understanding of regenerative medicine.
The Telegraph reports on new research, unveiled in the current issue of Nature Genetics. “In his 1952 paper The Chemical… Read More

Listen to Soundtrack from Turing Film

Edward White in the United Kingdom composed the music for Channel 4’s broadcast of “Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker.”  Check out this song he wrote. It’s called “Computable Numbers.”  Listen now.

Online Petition Seeks Pardon for Turing

Thousands of people in the United Kingdom have signed a petition asking the government to offer a posthumous pardon for Turing’s 1952 conviction on charges of gross indecency. Almost 18,000 people have signed the e-petition. If 100,000 people sign the petition, the issue becomes eligible for discussion in the House of Commons.
Professor Barry Cooper,… Read More

Turing Film News Coverage

Newspapers in the United Kingdom provided extensive coverage in connection with the recent broadcast of “Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker” on Channel 4 in the UK. The news articles highlighted Turing’s story and our film’s approach to telling it. The papers featuring stories and reviews about the film included The Times, and The Telegraph, The… Read More

Turing Film Attracts 1.5 Million Viewers in the UK

“Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker” attracted an audience in the United Kingdom of about 1.5 million viewers on Channel 4’s November 21st broadcast. Until December 20th, people in the UK can watch the film streaming on Channel 4’s website.
International distribution plans for the film are being developed now. Stay tuned for details in the… Read More

Turing Film Scheduled for UK Broadcast

Channel 4 in the United Kingdom has announced a broadcast date for the Turing film. We’re very excited to tell you that “Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker” will air on Monday, November 21st at 9pm. Thanks to Channel 4 and Google for sponsoring a preview of the film in London last night. You can find… Read More

Hollywood Plans Turing Film

Warner Brothers has reportedly signed a seven-figure deal to buy a script about the life of Alan Turing.  Deadline reports that Leonardo DiCaprio is interested in being cast as Turing. The script is based on “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges. Read more.
News of this Hollywood feature film comes as production on our… Read More

Bletchley Park Loses a Friend

A leader of the effort to preserve Bletchley Park died this past weekend. 80 year-old Tony Sale helped found the Bletchley Park Trust in 1991. He also led the effort to reconstruct Colossus, the world’s first operational computer. Colossus was built in 1944 to break codes from the German Lorenz. … Read More

The Queen Honors Turing & Other Codebreakers

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh unveiled a monument on Friday at Bletchley Park to honor the men and women whose codebreaking helped defeat Nazi Germany.
The Queen toured the facility and met with people who worked at Bletchley Park during World War II. In a speech after unveiling an eight foot… Read More

Alan Turing’s Birthday

Alan Turing was born 99 years ago today on 23 June 1912 in London. He was born at what is now the Collanade Hotel located near the Warwick Avenue tube station in Little Venice. It’s appropriate on this day to think about Turing’s many contributions to our world. A short life, but a… Read More

Remembering Alan Turing

Tuesday June 7th marks the 57th anniversary of Alan Turing’s death. During research for this film, it has been an honor for the production team to talk with people who knew and worked with Turing. Their memories and fond recollections remind us that he wasn’t just a great scientist and an amazing thinker… Read More

Obama & Turing

President Barack Obama mentioned Alan Turing this week during his speech in London to both houses of Parliament. “From Newton and Darwin to Edison and Einstein; from Alan Turing to Steve Jobs, we have led the world in our commitment to science and cutting-edge research; the discovery of new medicines and technologies, ”… Read More

My Favourite Scientist

Alan Turing is featured in a video segment from Nottingham Trent University.  “My Favourite Scientist” includes interviews with various university researchers describing their heroes from science.  Dr. Jonathan Tepper explains why Alan Turing is his favourite scientist.


If you would like to pay by check, please email the producers of the film.

The DVD of CODEBREAKER has subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and German. It’s NTSC format. Aside from playing in NTSC DVD players, this format will play in newer PAL DVD players and on all computers.
** The CODEBREAKER DVD is available to… Read More

Turing Film Builds Momentum

Word is spreading about plans for this documentary,showing once again the global interest in Alan Turing’s story. In the last 72 hours, 6,000 people from 105 different countries and territories have visited turingfilm.com.  YouTube views of the teaser have almost doubled in the last three days–up to nearly 14,000 total. Still… Read More

Turing Test in the Spotlight

The Author of a new book about artificial intelligence recently appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The Most Human Human explores how computers are changing our concept of what it means to be human. Brian Christian centers his book on the 2009 Loebner Prize competition in Brighton,
England. … Read More

Poker Players vs. Computers

First computers mastered chess. Recently it was “Jeopardy!” Now computers are getting much better at poker. The New York Times recently reported on the efforts of online gambling websites to crack down against poker bots.
“But artificial intelligence has come a long way in the last few years, far enough that poker… Read More

A New Turing Test?

Two computer scientists propose a new approach for comparing human intelligence with non-human intelligence. The Economist has a story about it. Here is part of the story:
“The most famous test for artificial intelligence is that devised by Alan Turing, a British computing pioneer. To pass the Turing test, and thus be considered intelligent, a… Read More

Collection of Turing Papers Saved from Auction

The Bletchley Park Trust announces a big breakthrough in its effort to secure a rare collection of Alan Turing’s offprints. The collection belonged to Turing’s close friend and fellow code breaker, Professor Max Newman. It includes 16 offprints of Turing’s published works including his historic paper On Computable Numbers.
The Turing-Newman Collection went… Read More

Alan Turing’s Patterns in Nature

Wired.com has an article about Turing’s groundbreaking work in morphogenesis. The article takes you on a Turing pattern tour. Read more.
“Near the end of his life, the great mathematician Alan Turing wrote his first and last paper on biology and chemistry, about how a certain type of chemical reaction ought to produce… Read More

UK Considers Honor for Turing

The parliamentary Science and Technology Committee wants the British government’s newly announced Technology and Innovation Centres (TIC) named in honor of Alan Turing. The government has set aside £200m to set up a network of TICs. The committee wants these new facilities called “Turing Centres.”
Andrew Miller MP, chair of the… Read More

Watson, Turing, Minsky & the Future of AI

The verdict is in. Watson is the winner in this Battle of the Titans on Jeopardy! The much publicized game show contest between the IBM super computer and the two greatest Jeopardy contestants ever ended in a blowout. Read an Associated Press article about what happened in this showdown between man and machine.

What does it all mean?

Mind, Machine, & the Turing Test:

The new issue of The Atlantic has an interesting article about the Turing Test. Science writer and poet Brian Christian centers his article on the 2009 Loebner Prize competition in Brighton, England. Christian participated in the contest as one of the people interacting with the computers. His book on… Read More

Turing’s Story Needs to be Told

Here’s a blog post about this project from my friend Dr. Sue Black, the founder of Saving Bletchley Park.
“I met Patrick Sammon, President of Story Center Films, last year when he was over in London. We share a love of Alan Turing and respect for his immense legacy and spent a happy couple of… Read More

The Wonder of Watson

As the father of artificial intelligence, Alan Turing surely would be impressed with IBM’s new supercomputer. Watson, as it’s called, will compete next month on Jeopardy, the popular television game show.
A practice round last week gained lots of media attention and speculation about the future of computer science. Watson, named for IBM founder… Read More

A Message from the Producer

Alan Turing is among the most consequential scientists ever. Despite his lasting impact on our modern world, Turing’s heroic, inspiring, and tragic story remains largely unknown across the world. Now an international production team is working to showcase Turing’s life and legacy in a feature-length documentary film.
I came across Alan Turing’s name almost… Read More

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