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In Alan Turing’s 1936 paper on computable numbers, he presented a thought experiment. Turing describes a machine that has an infinitely long tape upon which it writes, reads and alters symbols. He further shows that a machine with the correct minimal set of operations can calculate anything that is computable, no matter the complexity. A Turing machine is just a device that changes symbols on a strip of tape according to a set of rules. Despite how simple it sounds, the Turning Machine can, in theory, simulate the logic of any computer algorithm. That is cool. My CA Turing Machine is intended to be a universal Turing machine. That means it should be capable of simulating any other Turing machine.

In theory, the CA Turing machine can simulate an infinite number of finite states for which an infinite number of tapes could be run on an infinite number of rules. In practice, Java or your computer would probably crash as the number of finite states got very large, but it is still kind of mind blowing. For now, I have just trained my CA Turning Machine to count and to paint pretty pictures. Check out my gallery of Turning machine artwork!

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