(Image by Michael Dales)
Wolfram, the makers of the software Mathematica, are offering a $25,000 prize to the first person who can prove whether the above 2, 3 Turing machine is universal. From the website (here):
“A universal Turing machine is powerful enough to emulate any standard computer.
The question is: how simple can the rules for a universal Turing machine be?
Since the 1960s it has been known that there is a universal 7,4 machine. In A New Kind of Science, Stephen Wolfram found a universal 2,5 machine, and suggested that the particular 2,3 machine that is the subject of this prize might be universal.
The prize is for determining whether or not the 2,3 machine is in fact universal.”
What a great idea! I’m really curious to see how long it take for someone to claim the prize. If you’re interested in understanding more about what a Turing machine is, please check out the above links.