After Hours

Lego Turing Machine: The building blocks of computing in play

The Turing Machine is a theoretical model of how computation takes place. It dates from 1936 and inspired the pioneers who created the modern digital computer. The machine was described in a paper, On Computable Numbers, written by British mathematician Alan Turing.

Researchers at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) or Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam in the Netherlands decided to demonstrate the principles of the machine's operation by building a Turing Machine using a Lego Mindstorms NXT set.

The machine is part of the Turings Erfenis exhibition at the centre, which is running until October to mark the centenary of Turing's birth.

Photo: Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.