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A Turing Machine is a theoretical computer designed by Alan Turing in

the 1930's. It consists of an infinite amount of storage space

(memory), the ability to access this memory and carry out any

computational algorithm. An algorithm being the finite number of

steps needed to solve a problem. An example of an algorithm is the

quadratic formula or a cooking recipe. There is also the universal

Turing Machine. The Church-Turing Thesis states that for every

algorithm there is a Turing Machine capable of carrying it out.

Turing then goes on to say the there is a single Universal Turing

Machine which comprises all these Turing Machines and is therefore

capable of computing any algorithm.

These Turing Machines are theoretical. The nearest people have been

able to get to them is finite state machines. The difference between

these and Turing Machines is that Turing Machines have an infinite

amount of memory while in reality that is not possible so the finite

state machines only have a finite amount of memory storage.

The nearest thing known like a Turing Machine is the human brain,

when doing a quadratic equation most people will use some algorithm,

this algorithm can be translated so a computer can follow it thus

proving it can do what a person can do, and therefore its relevence

to cognitive psychologists.

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