turing machine

" are extremely basic symbol-manipulating devices which — despite their simplicity — can be adapted to simulate the logic of any computer that could possibly be constructed. They were described in 1936 by Alan Turing. Though they were intended to be technically feasible, Turing machines were not meant to be a practical computing technology, but a thought experiment about the limits of mechanical computation; thus they were not actually constructed. Studying their abstract properties yields many insights into computer science and complexity theory.

A Turing machine that is able to simulate any other Turing machine is called a Universal Turing machine (UTM, or simply a universal machine). A more mathematically-oriented definition with a similar "universal" nature was introduced by Alonzo Church, whose work on lambda calculus intertwined with Turing's in a formal theory of computation known as the Church–Turing thesis. The thesis states that Turing machines indeed capture the informal notion of effective method in logic and mathematics, and provide a precise definition of an algorithm or 'mechanical procedure'."

disponible en http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_machine

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