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Materialization of Universal Turing Machines

Glaschick, R (Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum, Paderborn, Germany)
Monday 16 April 2012, 14:00-16:00

Seminar Room 2, Newton Institute Gatehouse


Currently, a curious object adorns the lobby of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge: a physical Turing machine constructed by Gisbert Hasenjaeger. Hasenjaeger (1919-2006) was a German mathematician and logician and professor of logic at the universities of Muenster and Bonn in Germany. During the second world war, he was assigned to the central cryptographic unit of the German army and unwittingly competed with Alan Turing, as he was assigned the task of breaking the Enigma code (to test its security). He did not find the vulnerabilities that Turing exploited in breaking the code, and later said: "Fortunately! Otherwise the war would have lasted even longer!" In the 1950s and 1960s, Hasenjaeger built several demonstration models of Turing machines. The machine on display at the Newton Institute is a Turing machine with modifications by Moore and Wang. Our speaker, Rainer Glaschick, investigated the details of the mechanism of this machine and other physical Turing machines that are at the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn, Germany and will report on his experiences with these curious machines.


[pdf ]


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