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Budget 2014: Alan Turing Institute to lead big data research

19/03/2014 by


George Osborne has announced £42m fund to help make UK a world leader in big data and algorithm research.

A £42m Alan Turing Institute is to be founded to ensure that Britain leads the way in big data and algorithm research, George Osborne announced.

Drawing on the name of the famous British mathematician who led codebreaking work during the second world war at Bletchley Park, the institute is intended to help British companies by bringing together expertise and experience in tackling problems requiring huge computational power.

The tender to house the institute will be produced this year. It may be a brand-new facility or use existing space in a university, a Treasury spokesman said. Its funding will come from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and its chief will report to the science minister, David Willetts. No staffing numbers or chief executive have been announced.

“The intention is for the work to benefit British companies to have an advantage in big data,” the spokesman said.

Turing was a pivotal figure in mathematics and computing. His codebreaking work led to the cracking of the German “Enigma” codes, which used highly complex encryption, using an electromechanical system. He later formed a number of theories that underpin modern computing, and formalised the idea of algorithms – sequences of instructions – for a computer.

His codebreaking work is reckoned to have saved hundreds or even thousands of lives.

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