**Archived posting to the
Leica Users Group, 2001/04/04**

Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2001 20:59:14 -0400

on 4/4/01 7:39 PM, Simon Stevens at simon@camera-craftsman.com wrote: > What is a "Turing Machine"? I know who Alan Turing was and Ive heard of > the Turing test (and sometimes I'm convinced that's what the LUG is), > but I haven't heard this term before. A Turing machine is a kind of theoretical computer that reads digital data, performs a particular set of operations on them, and outputs digital data. The point about a Turing machine is that given a certain minimum set of operations the machine is capable of performing, a Turing machine is capable of carrying out any intellectual task we know an algorithm for. This is important because it shows we don't need more and more powerful computers to solve more and more difficult problems. The most basic Turing machine imaginable is quite capable of solving the most difficult problem imaginable *given enough time*. EG a sinclair spectrum could have passed the Turing test, given that we knew how to program *any* computer to pass the test. There is a lot about Turing machines in Hofstadter and Bennet's GODEL, ESCHER, BACH, which is one of those books everyone should read at least twice... My analogy was that Photoshop is capable of carrying out any graphical manipulation task you throw at it, *given that you know how to do it!* - -- Johnny Deadman http://www.pinkheadedbug.com