The Turing Machine


Alan Mathison Turing [1912-1954]

A Turing Machine is a device that uses a set of rules to work a list of symbols on a length of tape.

And it was the progenitor of the idea that became the modern computer. Or more accurately, what we call ‘Software’.

Kurt Godel’s paper was published in 1930. Within a decade, Alan Turing applied Godel’s work to solve issues fundamental in the birthing of Modern Software [‘Undecidability’; The’Halting Problem’, 1937]. And Academic Departments went about marveling at the quirkiness of ‘Strange Loops’.

Both Kurt Godel and Alan Turing reach for variants of the Self-Eating Expression to seal their respective proofs.

So why not just start with the opening Self-Eating Expression: ‘I don’t exist!’ It’s a lot more fun to work with than the cryptic symbols of these two pioneers.

The famed ‘Enigma Machine’ had a host of creative mathematicians far less known from across Europe contributing to it. But Turing’s greater fame was matched by his tragedy.

What is it with brilliant Logicians who see too far? Why are the deities of Consistency and Rule so indifferent to their first-born? Godel died from self-imposed starvation, according to the coroner; Turing, from cyanide poisoning.