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 using the Self-Eating Expression 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 Godel and Turing reach for variants of the Self-Eating Expression to seal their respective proofs [I have not read Turing’s paper but have been told that this is accurate]. 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.

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.