Today is pioneering British computer scientist Alan Turing’s 100th birthday. Turing was instrumental in developing early computers, and worked during World War II to successfully crack the German Enigma machine. (Sadly, Turing was prosecuted for being gay in the early 1950s and committed suicide soon after, at age 41.)
One of Alan Turing’s key contributions to computer science is the concept behind his Turing machine, “a hypothetical device representing a computing machine” (according to Wikipedia).
Jeroen van den Bos & Davy Landman of CWI in the Netherlands write:
Abstract models are just that, an abstraction of something. In order to really show how simple the fundamental model of a computer is, we have developed a physical implementation of the Turing machine, using LEGO Mindstorms NXT.
Here’s a videos of the machine in action:
Read more about the LEGO Turing machine on the team’s website.