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I really liked my undergraduate computability class


Sep 17 2009, 2:18am

Views: 433
I really liked my undergraduate computability class [In reply to] Can't Post

I just started a master's in CS, and I'll probably take another computability class sometime on the way to finishing. Turing is the father of computability of course, using the Turing machine idea to prove the halting problem, and to come up with his version of the Church-Turing Thesis (which is better than Church's version Tongue). We'll see if I do as well at the graduate version of the class...

To those who didn't take theoretical CS classes, a simplified explanation of the halting problem: basically whether or not you can prove if a program will eventually halt/terminate -- Turing proved that you can't, other than by running it and seeing if it halts or not. (Well, more accurately -- you might be able to prove if an individual program will halt or not, but you can't generically prove that any arbitrary program will halt.) The Church-Turing Thesis has never been proved, but is generally accepted -- basically it states that there are no new "types" of programs that can not be solved by a universal computer... computers can get faster, but can never do something "new". While we're at it, Turing machines are theoretical extremely simple "computers" that can solve anything... if any universal computer can solve any problem, a Turing machine is the simplest possible computer that can do so. Turing-complete programming languages are languages that can emulate a Turing machine, and therefore solve anything. Really just about anything in the field of computability has Turing's name all over it.

You can wikipedia "halting problem", "Church-Turing thesis", "Turing machine", and so on if you're interested. Or go take a class in computability. Wink

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams

Subject User Time
JRR Tolkien trained as British spy News from Bree Send a private message to News from Bree Sep 16 2009, 2:47pm
    This is a fascinating article. silneldor Send a private message to silneldor Sep 16 2009, 4:35pm
        Alan Turing acheron Send a private message to acheron Sep 16 2009, 5:00pm
            I'm an admirer of Turing too. Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Sep 16 2009, 8:41pm
                I really liked my undergraduate computability class acheron Send a private message to acheron Sep 17 2009, 2:18am
    I'm wonder if the Tolkien Estate was approached... Snaga Send a private message to Snaga Sep 16 2009, 7:12pm
    Some of this has been public knowledge for at least 28 years. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Sep 16 2009, 7:31pm
    I cannot read the fiery letters. Sauron must have been using a four-rotor Enigma./ L. Ron Halfelven Send a private message to L. Ron Halfelven Sep 16 2009, 7:35pm
    After they parachuted into Berlin by night, Tolkien was appalled when Turing blew their cover by mincing down the Unter der Linden... squire Send a private message to squire Sep 16 2009, 9:19pm
        Well said entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Sep 16 2009, 10:22pm
            It's a pity that some journalists feel like they must do this to sell a story Ainu Laire Send a private message to Ainu Laire Sep 17 2009, 1:05am
        on the other hand, you have different fingers acheron Send a private message to acheron Sep 17 2009, 2:30am
            Thanks for those details squire Send a private message to squire Sep 17 2009, 3:15am
            completely off this subject: I love your subject line! a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Sep 18 2009, 12:28am
                lol acheron Send a private message to acheron Sep 18 2009, 3:32am


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