A painting has appeared at GCHQ in Cheltenham celebrating the legacy and birthday of late mathematician and pioneer of theoretical computer science, Alan Turing, who has also become the first LGBTQ+ person to appear on a UK banknote.
During WW2, Turing was a vital figure in breaking the German Enigma code which led to the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.
Back in 1936, Turing developed the idea for the Universal Turing Machine which was the basis for the very first computer. He also developed a test for artificial intelligence which is still used today.
The rainbow-coloured canvas is 10 metres by 10 metres and has been created by specialist 3D artist, Joe Hill, in consultation with GCHQ’s Pride network.
The design – which has been revealed in the centre of the GCHQ hub, affectionately nicknamed the Doughnut – features an iconic image of Turing inside ‘drums’ from the British Bombe, the machine used to break the Enigma code.
The artwork, which also features hidden codes, will be donated to a number of organisations chosen by GCHQ’s Pride network.
GCHQ Director, Sir Jeremy Fleming, said: ‘Alan Turing was a genius who helped to shorten the war and influence the technology that still shapes our lives today. He was embraced for his brilliance but persecuted for being gay.
‘Turing’s legacy reminds us every day that diversity is essential and inclusion is mission critical to our organisation. His appearance on the £50 note is an important moment in ours and this country’s history. Turing was and remains a beacon of hope for all who dare to live and think differently.’