Has Turing's invention of Turing machines contributed to the development of real computers, which resulted in the personal computers we currently use?

I often saw it mentioned that this is an important contribution of mathematical logic to the real world, but Turing machines are just a very theoretical model of computation, so I don't see why this should influence the development of real computers.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes; see Alan Turing: "Between 1945 and 1947, Turing worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). He presented a paper on 19 February 1946, which was the first detailed design of a stored-program computer." $\endgroup$ Oct 22 '21 at 12:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MauroALLEGRANZA My question was whether Turing's invention of Turing machines contributed to the development of real computers. Not whether his work on ACE has contributed to that. $\endgroup$
    – user51244
    Oct 22 '21 at 15:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The concept of the Turing machine is fundamental to thinking about computation and programming. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 22 '21 at 15:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ stackoverflow.com/questions/7284/what-is-turing-complete would be a start. Turing established one of the main pillars of computer science. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 22 '21 at 15:34
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I thnk you are trying to split the unsplittable. Working out in detail an imaginary scheme for storage, retrieval, programming and processing shaped the design of real computers by both Turing and von Neumann, among others. The Turing machine was a structural blueprint of von Neumann architecture, which was then embodied in first programmable computers like EDVAC, see Development of the stored-program concept. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Oct 22 '21 at 19:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.