Turing Complete

What Does Turing Complete Mean?

A system is said to be “Turing complete” in computer theory if it can be used to emulate a Turing machine, which is a theoretical construct designed by mid-century mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing.


Techopedia Explains Turing Complete

The Turing machine itself is composed of three theoretical components — a limited set of states, an infinite amount of storage, and a transition function. With these attributes, the Turing machine represents certain boundaries of traditional computation.

With this in mind, many modern programming languages and some codebases are said to be Turing complete because they can accomplish the same computing principles noted in Turing’s theory. However, a technicality applies — because none of these systems have an infinite amount of storage, none of them can really be said to be Turing complete in total.

However it’s measured, the idea of Turing completeness is useful in modern computer theory, but completely separate from the Turing Test, which is Turing’s idea of assessing whether technologies can simulate human intelligence effectively.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…