Alan Turing should have been pardoned for his conviction of "gross indecency", former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch told Information Age today.
"Turing changed the course of history of twice," he said. "A pardon would have highlighted the price that we’ve paid for the intolerance of that age in losing whatever he was going to do next."
Turing was convicted in 1952 for indecency after acknowledging a homosexual relationship, illegal at the time. He underwent hormonal treatment designed to "cure" his homosexuality, which is believed to have contributed to his later suicide.
Earlier this year, a petition demanded a pardon for Turing to mark the centenary of his birth. It was denied, however, on the grounds that Turing "would have known his offense was against the law and that he would be prosecuted".
Turing’s mathematical work, which laid the foundation for modern computing, and his contribution to the war effort, each changed the course of history, Lynch said. Many of his ideas, such as his work on the halting problem, are still fundamental to computing today, he said.
Information Age’s full interview with Mike Lynch will appear on www.information-age.com soon.