Kathryn Cramer tells Boing Boing:

The Wolfram 2,3 Turing Prize winner was announced this morning: a
20-year old engineering student named Alex Smith who learned about the
contest from a chat room. Link.
The write-up in Nature is here.

Alex Smith, a undergraduate
electrical engineering student at the University of Birmingham in the
United Kingdom, has proven that a primitive type of computer known as
a 2,3 Turing machine can solve every computational problem there is.

And Stephen Wolfram's blog entry on it is here.

Smith's 40-something page proof is here, proving that the Turing
machine is "universal": PDF Link.
There's also a piece in New Scientist which has some nice bio
material on Alex Smith here.

Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence. Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | RedditIn this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially […]

Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]

Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.

The realm of web development is constantly evolving. New platforms, languages, and processes materialize all the time, so staying on top of all that innovation is a tall order.Whether you’re brushing up on new tricks, starting from scratch, or just looking to make your own website a little jazzier, Rob Percival’s new Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 (now […]

Folks used to rely on alarms to protect their home – and before that, the family dog. Now, anyone looking to guard their homes can choose from some high-tech options, including the Amaryllo iCamPRO FHD Home Security Camera (now just $219 in the Boing Boing Store).In fact, this 2015 CES “Best of Innovation” award-winner boasts so many features, it’s […]

If you want a quality vaping experience, it’s usually going to cost you. Vaporizers that deliver a fast, controlled burn will set you back up to $300, which is why the FEZ Vaporizer (now just $99) is an absolute steal.The FEZ dry herb pen does everything that more expensive models handle at a reduced price. It heats up […]

“Wolfram, founder and chief executive of Wolfram Research in Champaign, Illinois, issued the challenge this May to satisfy his own curiosity about how complexity emerges from simple systems. The idea is that a properly applied set of basic rules can create an enormously intricate result. “It’s actually a lot easier to make complexity than one might have thought,” he says. “I find it particularly tantalizing.””

Soooo, given enough time and energy, it might be possible to evolve an enormously complex eco-system from just a few particles? That can’t be right, surely?

Wow, as a college freshman in computer science it’s nice to see something this large being accomplished by someone so young. Congrats Smith!

Perhaps one day there’ll even be practical molecular computers built from this very 2,3 Turing machine. With tapes a bit like RNA strands, and heads moving up and down like ribosomes.This kind of stuff blows my mind. That something so simple can exhibit behavior so complex.

Wolfram’s Blog (once you get through the typical Wolfram evangilism in the first half) has some really interesting points about possible applications of this find.

“When we think of nanoscale computers, we usually imagine carefully engineering them to mimic the architecture of the computers we know today.” … however,

“We don’t have to carefully build things up with engineering. We can just go out and search in the computational universe, and find things like universal computers–that are simple enough that we can imagine making them out of molecules.”

Here’s the link to Wolfram’s whole post:

http://blog.wolfram.com/2007/10/the_prize_is_won_the_simplest.html

What really blows my mind about the Wolfram post (and everything he writes) is the sheer arrogance of the man. Yes, it’s a big accomplishment. But he spends only a fraction of the article acknowledging Smith’s contribution. Mr Wolfram clearly seems more satisfied with himself for “discovering” the machine (via a heuristic search, it seems?) than with the proof, which merely confirms his awesomeness. Even Alan Turing gets little credit for his lame-o, messy version of the universal machine — it’s a shame they put

hisname on it.Maybe I’m just too bitter at other stuff I’ve read from Wolfram, but his style makes my skin crawl. And every time Mathematica ticks me of I curse him under my breath.

Congratulations for a great contribution. I have always hoped that what Alex proved was true. Pythagoras’s Monad lives again!

Hmmmm, regarding life as an example of complexity from simple beginnings – Alex Smith like – would it be (theoretically) possible to build a human brain that was in fact based on a clock work mechaninsm? Or, say, a paralled up Alex-Smith Turing Machine?

Our pride at regarding ourselves as simple machines, could be saved by claiming that stacked up epistemology could in fact be an entity itself. Consider David Deutsch’s visualization of a research institute being built in deep space from the atoms in free space + knowledge. An area the size of our solar system could provide enough atoms. Atoms alone do nothing much except sit in deep space, but with epistemology thrown in – wow, that’s somehow different. Yummy food for thought.