The Turing Machine

Back in 2016 I was asked to make the Bombe, as a tribute to the great mathematician Alan Turing. Hundreds of hours went into the design and building of the Bombe, and now it has moved onto the next level. I have now been asked to make a Turing machine, this is a hypothetical machine that breaks down computation to the smallest individual component. It is going to take best part of a year to build and design, and use many disciplines in the construction from metalwork to computer programming.. I will post up details as the project come along.

As of 20th April 2019 I have the first harware back to run the state setting side of the build and also the first attempt at one of the cell boards. Work has been done also on the BF compiler, this will be in Java, and run on a Pi Zero inside the machine. Mechanical design based on an old Moog is prettty well complete, this will then start to come together over the next couple of weeks. 

20th June 2019 I now have the metalwork and engraved panels for the programmer unit completed, just a matter of assembling them all together. The panel that is responsible for loading the initial states into the machine is also now working. We have also decided to change the cell arrangement from a wheel into a long row, the head will then move back and forth reading and writing data.

15th August 2019 I've designed and built the chassis for the linear array that holds the 32 Nixie cells. The Programmer has also been assembled and just a bit more wiring to carry out for the indication LED's. The mechanical design that moves the head is also nearly ready. 

30th September 2019 The Array holding all the Nixie Cells is completed and there is some rudimentary code that will allow the programmer to upload the initial states onto the Array. Work is well under way on the electronics for the Array controller and the read / write head is also ready to go. 

10th February 2020  The machine is now operational where it can interpret and execute a BF program. The head is complete, and a lot of work has gone into the repeatability of the infrared comms between the head and cells. The internal architecture has moved away from a Raspberry Pi, and an Arduino Mega is used as the main controller.

1st July 2021 - The Pandemic pretty well put a lot of things on hold, the Turing Machine included! But finally a fully operational machine was finally despatched off to the USA!

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The Turing Machine

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