Turing Machine Project - Special Events

During the spring semester in 2015, a team of MIT Lincoln Laboratory (http://www.ll.mit.edu/) staff volunteered their time to build a Turing machine with two high school seniors from the Community Charter School of Cambridge (CCSC) (http://www.ccscambridge.org/). This project helped the two seniors satisfy their internship requirement. The Turing machine was conceptualized by Alan Turing in 1936, but has been implemented in a more modern form. The design uses 35mm film as memory, on which bits are physically written, read, and erased with a marker, camera, and mechanical eraser respectively. These mechanisms are used to control the evolution of a state machine; fulfilling Turing's requirements for arbitrary computation. The machine is controlled by embedded micro controllers, numerous motors and sensors, and code that was developed with the students. The entire design for the machine, as well as the manufacturing and assembly, was created throughout the internship. The project exposed students to solid software engineering practices, embedded micro controllers, machining technologies, 3D printing and general product development.

The technical team from Lincoln Laboratory consisted of Chad Spensky, Benjamin Nahill, Timothy Greer, Matthew Harger, Stuart Baker, and Jack Lepird.

The hope now that the internship has been completed is to use the facilities at Lincoln Laboratory to deploy a polished version of the machine as an exhibit honoring the late Alan Turing.

3 - Month Project at Beaver Works
  • CCSC Students
    • Kyania Burke
    • Trevon Bennett
  • Lincoln Laboratory Mentors
    • Chad Spensky, Group 59
    • Tim Greer, Group 104
    • Ben Nahil, Group 53
    • John Lepird, Group 42
    • Stuart Baker, Group 76