Alan Turing

Campaigners have spent years demanding that the UK exonerate computing legend Alan Turing, and they're finally getting their wish. Queen Elizabeth II has just used her royal prerogative to pardon Turing, 61 years after an indecency conviction that many now see as unjust. The criminal charge shouldn't overshadow Turing's vital cryptoanalysis work during World War II, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said when explaining the move. The pardon is a purely symbolic gesture, but an important one all the same -- it acknowledges that the conviction cut short the career of a man who defended his country, broke ground in artificial intelligence and formalized computing concepts like algorithms.