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Communications of the ACM


A Turing Tale

books by and about Alan Turing

Credit: Thomas Bethge

Much has been written about Alan Turing during the past decades and by a variety of people, including historians, philosophers, and logicians. Becoming a Turing scholar today not only requires archival research but also the study of several secondary sources. Doing the latter leads to the observation that many texts contain flaws.

In this Viewpoint, I compare and contrast some key arguments put forth by three Turing scholars—Andrew Hodges, Martin Davis, and Jack Copeland—highlighting the conceptual difference between a "universal Turing machine" and a "stored program" computer. My findings complement Thomas Haigh's January 2014 Communications Historical Reflections column, "Actually, Turing Did Not Invent the Computer."7


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