We take it for granted nowadays that thumbnail-sized silicon chips can crunch through the most complex of calculations, but early last century, mathematical tasks were still being carried out by humans. It was around that time that one Alan Turing, Enigma code breaker and general computer science pioneer, came up with what was essentially a thought experiment, a mechanical machine capable of simulating and solving algorithms just like a grown-up CPU. Well, you know where this is going by now, one British software engineer decided to build just such a device, out of old bits and bobs he had lying around his geek lair, producing a working model that was recently shown off at the Maker Faire UK in Newcastle. The only downer, as he points out, is that it’d take “months to add two numbers together,” but all good things start off humbly. Video after the break.
Turing machine built from wood, scrap metal and magnets, ‘geek’ achievement unlocked (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 15:24:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.