Some more wonderments in honor of the Alan Turing centenary: Jeroen van den Bos and Davy Landman from the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam have created a working Turing machine out of Lego. It is both inspired and an inspiration:
Our LEGO Turing machine uses a tape based on a classic interpretation of computer memory: switches. Additionally, it uses a light sensor to determine the value of a switch: if the switch is on, the sensor will see the black colour of the switch's surface. But if it is turned off, the sensor will see the white colour of the LEGO beam, making it possible to distinguish between the states. Finally, a rotating beam mounted above the tape can flip the switch in both directions.
Alan Turing's original model has an infinite tape, but LEGO had a slight problem supplying infinite bricks. So we chose to fix our tape size to 32 positions.
A Turing Machine built using LEGO
In honor of the Alan Turing year 2012
I'm one of the "special guests" at this year's San Diego Comic-Con! If you're attending, I hope you'll come by and see some of my programming items, especially my spotlight interview with Cecil Castellucci (Friday, July 20, 1330h-1430h, Room 24ABC), where I'll be making an exciting announcement.
Brent Longborough did me the enormous favor of translating my latest Locus column, Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags, into Portuguese, and sent it to me to publish.
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