Graduate studies at Western
Complexity 4 (1):30-32 (1998)
|Abstract||The tape is divided into squares, each square bearing a single symbol—'0' or '1', for example. This tape is the machine's general-purpose storage medium: the machine is set in motion with its input inscribed on the tape, output is written onto the tape by the head, and the tape serves as a short-term working memory for the results of intermediate steps of the computation. The program governing the particular computation that the machine is to perform is also stored on the tape. A small, fixed program that is 'hard-wired' into the head enables the head to read and execute the instructions of whatever program is on the tape. The machine's atomic operations are very simple—for example, 'move left one square', 'move right one square', 'identify the symbol currently beneath the head', 'write 1 on the square that is beneath the head', and 'write 0 on the square that is beneath the head'. Complexity of operation is achieved by the chaining together of large numbers of these simple atoms. Any universal Turing machine can be programmed to carry out any calculation that can be performed by a human mathematician working with paper and pencil in accordance with some algorithmic method. This is what is meant by calling these machines 'universal'|
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