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Alan Turing's Automatic Computing EngineThe Master Codebreaker's Struggle to build the Modern Computer$
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B. Jack Copeland

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198565932

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565932.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine

B. Jack Copeland (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the development of Alan Turing's ‘universal computing machine’, better known as the universal Turing Machine. The earliest large-scale electronic digital computers, the British Colossus (1943) and American ENIAC (1945), did not store programmes in memory. In 1936, Turing came up with an idea for a machine with limitless memory, in which both data and instructions were to be stored. By 1945, groups in Britain and the US began developing hardware for a universal Turing machine. Turing headed a group at the National Physical Laboratory in London that designed the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE), the first relatively complete specification of an electronic stored-programme digital computer.

Keywords:   universal computing machine, universal Turing Machine, computers, hardware, Automatic Computing Engine

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