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Nomenclaturing: Let's Ture to the Max!

By Donald Knuth

September 21, 2012

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Christos Papadimitriou's recently published reminiscences ["Alan and I," Communications of the ACM 55.9 (September 2012), 42--43] include the fascinating story of how he learned about Turing Machines: As a bored undergraduate in a Greek university, he happened to see the definition buried within an article about pattern recognition, and he was immediately entranced.

I longed to learn more about it, but I had no access to a scientific library. I looked up in my English-Greek dictionary the verb "to ture" (I really did).

"To ture": We should assign a meaning to this wonderful verb before it's too late!

Idea #0. "to ture" = opposite of "to flase."

Forgetit.

Idea #1. "to ture" = to compute as an automaton does.

This idea has positive (but ε) merit. Notice, for example that the first important exploration game was named "adventure," and it was based on a finite-state model of a cave and its inhabitants/treasures.

Idea #2. "to ture" = to use the Internet.

Aha, this one immediately looks terrific. Not only does it honor Alan in an entirely appropriate way, it also fills a real need: The English language currently has no verb with this meaning, and such a verb becomes more necessary as each day passes.

"We couldn't ture at home this morning because the wireless was down, so we tured at the coffeehouse instead."

(To pronounce this word, say tyoor as in ‘picture’ or ‘architecture’. While celebrating Alan's 100th birthday in Manchester this summer I learned to call him Tyooring.)

What think you? If you agree, we could probably plant this word into the world's vocabulary very quickly via social networks. In fact a large percentage of the world could well be turing daily before the end of 2012!   

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