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The Logician and the EngineerHow George Boole and Claude Shannon Created the Information Age$
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Paul J. Nahin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176000

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176000.001.0001

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Turing Machines

Turing Machines

Chapter:
(p.161) 9 Turing Machines
Source:
The Logician and the Engineer
Author(s):

Paul J. Nahin

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691176000.003.0009

This chapter discusses Turing machines. A Turing machine is the combination of a sequential, finite-state machine plus an external read/write memory storage medium called the tape (think of a ribbon of magnetic tape). The tape is a linear sequence of squares, with each square holding one of several possible symbols. The Turing machine's power to compute comes from its tape, for two reasons. First, Turing was the first to conceive of the idea of a stored program that could be changed by the operation of the machine itself. The program, and its input data, exist together on the tape as sequences of symbols. Second, because of the arbitrarily long length of the tape, a Turing machine has the ability to “remember” what has happened in the arbitrarily distant past.

Keywords:   Turing machines, computing machines, Boolean algebra, mathematics

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