The Bank of England today announced that Alan Turing, English mathematician, computer scientist and pioneering World War II codebreaker of Bletchley Park, will be the face of new of the £50 note. Turing is considered by many to be the father of modern computing and artificial intelligence. Recognizing him in this way is truly inspirational because it combines two core areas of interest to pricing professionals in particular – using computers to solve problems, and creating cash. At Vendavo, we feel Turing’s legacy every day, as we go about our work of helping companies improve their commercial excellence processes and practices with a blend of powerful computing and human expertise.
During WW II, Turing’s work in Hut 8 at Bletchley Park was profound. It is widely acknowledged as being a major contribution to the Allied victory; Winston Churchill himself described the work of Bletchley Park as the “secret weapon” that won the war. Let’s think for a moment about the essential nature of what Turing created. He took a process (decryption of intercepted Nazi signals) and reduced it by several orders of magnitude. This was important because it was known that the cipher key was changed every single day. Therefore, no work from the previous day was any help to the next batch of decryption that had to be done.
Turing was a man of brilliance, obviously, and what is so impressive is his singular ability to think about problems differently. He knew that there must be a way of deploying machines to complete repetitive tasks, based on inputs, matching, testing and outputs, with a strong feedback loop to the inputs to the next process that runs. This is why he is the father of AI, and why we should all appreciate his mind.
At Vendavo, we have introduced a similar innovation into the world of scientific segmentation of data. Deal Price Guidance develops a new segmentation model in a matter of minutes – and may be implemented in as little as 24 hours. Not so long ago, these things required months of professional services engagement and iterative work by a team of data scientists. Indeed, that’s the way some of our competitors still operate today. The power of pricing has grown exponentially more powerful.
Now, I’m going to dust off one of the books on my shelves about the codebreakers of Bletchley, to be further inspired by them.
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