In yesterday’s budget, UK Chancellor George Osborne announced that an institute named after World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing will be set up in Britain, which will focus on new ways of collecting, organising and analysing large sets of data.
The facility will cost the government £42m over five years, and is part of a new £222m science package.
Alan Turing lived in Mr Osborne’s own constituency of Tatton, Cheshire, and was a brilliant mathematician whose work greatly helped Allied forces read German messages enciphered with the Enigma machine. His code-breaking efforts allowed the war to be ended sooner, saving thousand of lives.
Unfortunately, Turing was persecuted for his sexuality and, after being convicted of gross indecency, was chemically castrated in 1952. Following years of campaigning, however, he was granted a posthumous Royal pardon in December last year. Now, finally, his great work can be given the recognition it deserves, with the government hoping that this institute will lead the way in the use of so-called ‘big data’.
The government’s science package will also provide £106m to new centres for doctoral training, £55m for the development of cell therapy manufacturing and £19m for a Graphene Open Access Innovation Centre.