Skip to content

Your Turing Test

May 27, 2012

See how Turing aware you are


Alan Turing is of course being honored this year with many events of all kinds.

Today we thought it might be fun to have a light approach to Turing.

In the next section we have a simple multiple choice set of questions about Turing, including his life and results.

One rule is we suggest that you take the test without searching for the answers from the web. You are on your honor, but have fun no matter what.

Turing Twenty Questions

Your Turing Test ©

  1. Alan Turing’s middle name is:
    1. Mathison
    2. Mathisen
    3. Madison
    4. Maxwell
    5. None of the above
  2. Turing proved that there is no general procedure for deciding whether:
    1. A formula of the predicate calculus is true in all structures
    2. A formula of the predicate calculus is true in some structure
    3. A formula of the propositional calculus is satisfiable
    4. A formula of arithmetic is true in the natural numbers
    5. (i) and (ii).
  3. The key first breakthrough on the German Engima machine was accomplished by:
    1. Dilly Knox
    2. Marian Rejewski
    3. Alan Turing
    4. Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry
    5. None of the above
  4. Turing’s code-breaking work during World War II became public knowledge
    1. When Coventry was evacuated before a German raid
    2. When Turing was awarded the OBE in 1945
    3. During his trial in 1952
    4. When Kim Philby was exposed as a double agent in 1963
    5. When certain papers were de-classified in the 1970’s
  5. Turing’s two papers on statistical code-breaking techniques were released to the UK National Archives
    1. When Turing’s code-breaking work became public knowledge
    2. When they were submitted to FOCS on the 25th anniversary of his death, in 1979
    3. When requested by Turing’s biographer Andrew Hodges in 1985
    4. When Turing’s collected papers were published in 1992
    5. Last month
  6. The production version of Alan Turing’s ACE computer design was called:
    1. KING
    2. QUEEN
    3. KNAVE
    4. TREY
    5. DEUCE
  7. Turing never met
    1. Winston Churchill
    2. John von Neumann
    3. Konrad Zuse
    4. Kurt Gödel
    5. Claude Shannon
  8. The problem Turing actually stated when he first proved the undecidability of the Halting Problem in his famous 1936 paper is:
    1. Whether a Turing machine writes 0 or 1 only a finite number of times
    2. Whether a Turing machine writes “s” for “satisfactory”
    3. Whether a Turing machine halts on a given input
    4. Whether a Turing machine computes an uncomputable number
    5. Whether a Turing machine prints out the binary expansion of pi
  9. Who of the following did not invent an equivalent definition of Turing computable:
    1. Kurt Gödel
    2. J. Barkley Rosser
    3. Andrey Markov
    4. Alonzo Church
    5. None of the above—i.e., all invented such a definition.
  10. Turing’s thesis advisor was:
    1. G.H. Hardy
    2. David Hilbert
    3. Alonzo Church
    4. John von Neumann
    5. None of the above

  11. Turing got a Ph.D. from which institution?
    1. Oxford University
    2. Cambridge University
    3. Princeton University
    4. University of Manchester
    5. None of the above
  12. Which of the following is true?
    1. Turing never won the Turing Award.
    2. He was awarded the first one posthumously.
    3. An existing award was renamed for him after his death.
    4. No major computer science theory award is named for a living person.
    5. None of the above
  13. In Turing’s original paper his machines used:
    1. One tape
    2. Two tapes
    3. Multiple tapes
    4. Planar tapes
    5. None of the above
  14. Turing’s work on the Riemann Hypothesis led him in the direction of
    1. Doubting it
    2. Proving it undecidable in Peano Arithmetic
    3. Finding a counterexample
    4. Proving it true for the first {10^{31}} zeroes
    5. Proving it cannot contradict any natural law.
  15. Turing came to New York City in 1943 to work on
    1. The Manhattan Project
    2. US naval cipher decryption
    3. Voice scrambling by telephone
    4. Encryption of radio frequencies
    5. The construction of Turing degrees below the Halting Problem
  16. Turing’s birthday is common with which Oscar winning actress:
    1. Natalie Portman
    2. Frances McDormand
    3. Emma Thompson
    4. Kate Winslet
    5. None of the above
  17. The number of co-authored published papers of Turing is:
    1. zero
    2. two
    3. three
    4. more than three
    5. None of the above
  18. Turing was a serious amateur:
    1. rock climber
    2. distance runner
    3. motor-bike rider
    4. None of the above
    5. All of the above
  19. Which of the following are not things named for Turing:
    1. Turing Test
    2. Turing Degree
    3. Turing Machine
    4. Good-Turing frequency estimation
    5. None of the above
  20. Turing’s last communications (to Robin Gandy) in 1954 were about:
    1. The Riemann Hypothesis
    2. Complexity measures for Turing machines
    3. Recursive ordinals based on his PhD thesis work
    4. Morphogenesis applied to DNA
    5. Cosmology and quantum mechanics

Open Problems

We hope you have enjoyed the test, and we invite you to add your own favorite questions in the comments section. At some time soon we will give the answers.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2012 4:38 pm

    Turing was buried in:
    i. Manchester
    ii. London
    iii. Bletchley Park
    iv. Woking
    v. None of the above

    • May 27, 2012 11:51 pm

      I got this immediately—and something I carefully wrote in the intro of this item makes your wording allowable.

  2. John Sidles permalink
    May 27, 2012 9:55 pm

    In the 1937 letter that John von Neumann wrote to support Turing’s graduate fellowship at ******** university, what mathematical work of Turing’s did von Neumann’s letter *not* praise (or even mention):

    i. the theory of almost periodic functions,

    ii. the theory of continuous groups,

    III. the theory of computable numbers,

    iv. none of the above (all were mentioned in the letter).

    • Jim Blair permalink
      May 28, 2012 9:22 am

      The answer to John’s question is: He didn’t mention computable numbers.

  3. ramirez permalink
    May 28, 2012 1:52 pm

    I never did heard about Alan turing Before, The way you are asking to answer the questions without consulting the Wiky wiky pedia. is like trying to de-cypher an unknown lang like the Persian Cuneiform from Dario’s Period. however in order to unscript something you have to encrypt it. and its the best way to learn about it. what I know about it from memory is that The Enigma Machie was the communications gate between the Military base in Germany and the submarines, the encryption system was made by Hitlers Scientists and that they introduced a code based on an Echelon where the turning (turing) weel was spinning algorithmically creating different levels on the amplitud of the wave sine so in this way you have a logic gate on different levels of the encryption. They implemented this process through the Ohm’s law so the electric bit will spinn several times before it does reaches its counterpart. something like the CB radio.this way is not necessary that the next word in the paragraph is the one that the logic tells you. Its an electric value that has a ponderation, while the radio carrier takes an specific sound value as a sound wave. Schroodinger creates an encryption value that remains on and off as the binary emission gate. zeros and ones in an echelon, however they did not reach the square of -1 where would it be the anti-proton. or the real Enigma Machine. this machines where triangulated and the encrypted code replayed over and over until they found out the meaning of an emergency call. something like the short wave called “Elf” that the modern nuclear submarines are using to comunicate to the Pentagon on National Security protocol. the code bit is so small that the receptor has to use an antenna that can contrapose the nano values on a time space differential, K= magnetic value=0 G= gravity square of 1 , B= beta
    is 1 divided between the length of the wave under gravitational pressure. the sequential logic value of an idea is Ziz. Ziper drives, Jar etc. now are a comercial use. the encryption in an empty space in motion is on the Prowl. Germany Shark encryptions are similar to the US, CCCP, encryptions on Nuclear Missils launching codes. al this codes are being monitored at different locations as Arrecibo in Puerto Rico, and listening stations around the world.

    • Serge permalink
      May 28, 2012 7:28 pm

      “this way is not necessary that the next word in the paragraph is the one that the logic tells you.”

      That seems to be a characteristic property of your own funny contributions to this blog. 🙂

    • Vadim permalink
      May 30, 2012 9:29 pm

      Has anyone ever told you that you sound a little like the Time Cube guy?

  4. beki70 permalink
    May 29, 2012 9:50 am

    this is hard… but nicely done. Just finished reading Sara Turings biography of her son, very moving…

  5. Bill Gasarch permalink
    May 30, 2012 11:58 am

    Turing’s undergraduate research was on

    a) Logic

    b) Number Theory

    c) Probability

    d) Geometry

    e) Ramsey Theory

    • Serge permalink
      May 30, 2012 5:31 pm

      Answer c) : according to Wikipedia, he rediscovered by himself the proof of the central limit theorem.

  6. Bill Gasarch permalink
    May 30, 2012 6:43 pm

    Serge- you cheated- you weren’t supposed to look it up.
    I can’t complain- I cheated in that I used Wikipedia to make up the question.
    I think its interesting that Turing was so well rounded within math.

    Ramsey Theory was put there as a joke answer since Turing got his ugrad degree in 1935, way before Ramsey Theory was an area of study, though Ramsey’s paper came out in 1928.

    • Serge permalink
      May 30, 2012 7:08 pm

      OK I cheated, but how many of us would have answered publicly without neither knowing the answer beforehand nor looking it up? 🙂

      I’m not so surprised that Turing was well rounded within math, since he was a downright genius. But it’s interesting anyway to note that computer science was invented in the first place by mathematicians and logicians.

  7. John Sidles permalink
    May 30, 2012 7:27 pm

    Alan Turing’s final, still-unpublished manuscript concerned:

    i. Biology: The morphogenesis of mammalian stripes

    ii. Engineering: On the minimum-weight design of elastic structures

    iii. Chemistry: The dynamics of oscillating chemical reactions

    iv. Artificial Intelligence: Rules for automatic chess-playing

    v. Logic: On the decidability of asymptotic computation run-times

    Resist the temptation to peek! 🙂

    • Craig permalink
      May 31, 2012 10:02 am

      I’m going to guess iv, as this is a natural question motivated by his research.

      i is motivated by cellular automata, which weren’t known back then.

      ii is something he wouldn’t have been interested in.

      iii is something that nobody believed existed back then.

      v Asymptotic computation run-times weren’t thought of back then.

      Now, I’ll peek.

      • Craig permalink
        May 31, 2012 10:03 am

        I just peeked. Nice question, John.


  1. Chess Knightmare and Turing’s Dream « Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP
  2. See how Turing accidentally invented the computer | Blowfish12

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s