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Comment: Re:Windows XP still at 28.98% (Score 1) 470

The system will not receive any updates any more while sharing a code base with newer systems. Any patch coming for Vista/7/8 starting April will be analyzed for a matching bug in XP which will be turned into exploits quickly.

Any Windows XP system will be a real liability when connected to the Internet.

Comment: Re:Long overdue (Score 1) 415

by mseeger (#45794325) Attached to: Alan Turing Pardoned

Kernighan and Ritchie were well aware of Turing completeness. Dennis Ritchie started with Theoretical Computer Science before he wrote his first software (see http://www.gotw.ca/publications/c_family_interview.htm). You can be sure that designing C without Turing Completeness would have been for them like designing a car without tires.

Languages without Turing Completeness only make sense only in special applications because they are so limited (e.g. the C PreProcessor is not Turing Complete unless you use it recursively).

One of the marvels of the Turing machine is that it is so simple (you can describe what a Turing machine does on 2-3 pages) but it is as powefull in expression as modern languages with specification of thousands of pages are.

A lot of coders have no idea about the theories behind it. That is why a lot of code sucks. It's not the lack of Turing machines but on the theories that are connected to it (e.g automata theory, complexity theory).

What you are saying is like: I am tiler, i never check the foundation when i am building the roof, so it can't be important ;-).

You can make a living as a coder without all that knowledge. More than half of the coders do. But if you look at the people who shape the world of software (like Dennis Ritchie, Linus Torvalds, James Gosling, etc), you will notice they all are well versed in the area of computer science theories.

P.S. Concerning AI and Turing Test: computer games have no AI. The producers of computer games call their software opponents AI, but they are a collection heuristical algorithms cobbled together.

When you are playing agains an opponent, you can usually tell easily wether this is a computer or not. In fact, you are conducting a Turing Test then and the other side fails usually miserably.

Comment: Re:Long overdue (Score 1) 415

by mseeger (#45787163) Attached to: Alan Turing Pardoned

I cannot blame you for not seeing it. I studied the theories for five years and thought them dull and boring. Then, after decades of having to work on real world problems, it hit me. Nowadays i can e.g. look at code or database designs and easily recognise coders who have understood the theories and those who didn't.

Not understanding the theoretical background will put and upper limit to anyones capabilities as a coder. This is like being restricted in World of Warcraft to Level 20: some skills in the skill tree will remain out of reach no matter the grinding.

The best way to illustrate the genius of Turing is: he saw computers coming before the first one ever being built. He developed a trivial "assembler language" (Turing machine) that is so powerfull that no computer and no programming language built today can compute something his machine could not.

When he was finished with that, he thought not about calculations (as the opposite German genius Konrad Zuse did) but of processing symbols. He thought of computer code being processed by computer code and thereby inventing compilers and interpreters without having a name for it yet.

Then he interpolated the capabilities of those (not yet existing) machines and recognised that they would appear to have some kind of artificial intelligence and started thinking about how to tell computers and humans apart (60 years before the first SPAM was sent).

Looking back, having all the tools already on your fingertips, all this may sound trivial. But to achieve only 1% of his visionary power, i would have to grow by several orders of magnitude.

Comment: Re:Long overdue (Score 1) 415

by mseeger (#45781211) Attached to: Alan Turing Pardoned

C is Turing complete for all practical purposes.

The idea behind Turing complete is more complicated. It's about what kind of ideas you can formulate.

a) If you can do everything in C you can do with a Turing machine and vices versa and
b) you do the same thing for an exotic language (let's thay Haskell)

you have proven that C and Haskell can solve the same kind of problems (there is no problem you can solve in C but not in Haskell).

That is why the idea of quantum computing is so interesting. It would be the first kind of programming that may achieve solving a problem that may not be solved with a Turing machine. Until now, Turing has de facto established an upper boundary for computability until know.

The next thing is that Turing proved that there is no Turing machine that could determine for any other Turing machine if it ever comes to a stop in finite time.

Combining with the statement above says: There is no C program that could analyse every C program completely in finite time.

It's a simplified version of what Turing called the "halting problem".

The astounding thing is: he found out a lot of things about modern computers without ever having seen one. The theories came first. It's like Newton discovering gravitation without seeing apples falling first.

Comment: Re:Long overdue (Score 1) 415

by mseeger (#45773335) Attached to: Alan Turing Pardoned

He has made a lot of contribtion to the basic theories, especially on the topic of computability,

A basic test for any programming language is (even today) if it is Turing complete. If you can implement a Turing machine (a theoretical universal computer) in a language, you can implement any problem that is computeable in that language and therefor the language is Turing complete.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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