Alex Smith, a third-year engineering student at the University of Birmingham, is receiving the Vice Chancellor’s medal today (Thursday13 December 07).

Alex, who is studying for an MEng, won the US $25,000 Wolfram 2,3 Turing Machine Research Prize in October this year.

The Wolfram Turing prize was established to be awarded to the first person or group to prove either that Wolfram's Turing machine is universal, or that it is not.  Alex Smith was able to demonstrate with a 50 page proof that Wolfram's Turing machine is, in fact, universal.

This result ends a half-century quest to find the simplest universal Turing machine.  It demonstrates that a remarkably simple system can perform any computation that can be done by any computer.

Alex is an undergraduate student at the University’s Department of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering,


Notes to Editors

The Vice-Chancellor's Medal is the gift of the Vice-Chancellor. Struck and engraved by Fattorini's in the Jewellery Quarter, it is awarded at the honorary graduands' lunch to an individual who has contributed significantly to the University, and whom the University wishes to honour in some way. It is not awarded annually, but only when it is deemed appropriate.

For further information

Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.