Vote for Alan Turing's Universal Machine
Written by Historian   
Saturday, 23 March 2013

Update: Voting is now closed. Alan Turing's Universal Machine came top and was voted Great British Innovation from the past. The Raspberry Pi came second for future innovations. 

A pair  of polls to choose the most important British innovation of the last 100 years and for recent innovations that will have the greatest impact in the coming century opened on March 15 and closes on March 24. It was timed to celebrate the theme of invention and discovery in the UK's National Science & Engineering Week and was launched by Professor Stephen Hawking.

Once the results of the Great British Innovation Vote are announced on March 25, 2013, the site will become a database of British innovations in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

Meanwhile there is just time to cast your vote. There are only 12 nominations in the Future category and Tilly Blyth, Keeper of Engineering and Technology at the Science Museum in London, makes a strong case for voting for the Raspberry Pi explaining how it could revolutionise the way our children think and learn with machines and how crucial it is to have a new generation of computer programmers. 



In the Past category Alan Turing's Universal Machine is a very strong contender, currently ranking 2 of 85 nominations, and has the backing of Stephen Fry who points out that:

Turing had an idea of a machine in order to solve an intellectual problem and then had that rare ability amongst mathematicians to push it through to building machines.

It is interesting that a mathematical construct is being listed along with "real" hardware as a great innovation. 




If you want to vote for a historic computer you can choose the Pilot ACE, described as "the first physical manifestation of the ‘universal machine" and currently ranking 44 of the 85 nominations; the Small Scale Experimental Machine, nicknamed 'Baby' listed as the first stored-program electronic digital computer currently 35 of 85, the first business computer Leo I (21 of 85) the Ferranti Mark 1 (59 out of 85).

The list of Past innovations also includes the ARM chip which is  currently ranking 10 and the World Wide Web which is at 7th position.

So can the Universal Machine beat the BMC Mini to become the Top British Innovation?

Have your vote counted here

More Information

Great British Innovation

Related Articles

Raspberry Pi Stampede

What is a Turing Machine?

Alan Turing's ACE

From Baby to Mark I

LEO - Lyons Electronic Office



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Last Updated ( Monday, 25 March 2013 )