A Java Turing Machine Engine
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Joss Whittle
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Java Turing Machine

An engine for running turing machines written in java. I'm very VERY bored over the summer here in Oxfordshire so this was just a fun little project to keep my mind at work, and prevent me from getting any research done for my dissertation.


Usage: Turing Machine [{-f,--file} path]         Path to a file describing a Turing Machine
                      [{-t,--timeout} duration]  Time in milliseconds to wait after each instruction
                      [{-p,--print} print state] Only print to the screen whilst in the given state
                      [{-d,--pad} tape padding]  Pads the tape with a given number of the tape default
                      [{-z,--zero}]              Fill the tape with 0's rather than blanks
                      [{-q,--quiet}]             Only print the final tape value on HALT
                      [{-h,--help}]              Display this message...

Turing Machine Markup

Turing machines are defined as 5-Tuples consisting of:

  • State ID (digit)
  • Expected Value (B/0/1)
  • Print Value (B/0/1)
  • Move Command (L/N/R)
  • Next State ID (digit/H)

Optionally, the first line of a Turing Machine file can be a String of B's, 0's, and 1's to define the initial state of the tape.

An example Turing Machine

Here we have a simple turing machine consisting of four states. When computed it produces and infinitely long string of 0 space 1 space 0 space 1...


The machine assumes and infinite tape which is blank filled. Thus we would run this turing machine on the command line with

java TuringMachine < Simple.tur -t 100

Another example machine is the 3-State Busy Beaver.


This machine imagines a infinite tape which is zero filled, it would also be useful to center the output on a padded tape. To run it we would type

java TuringMachine < Beaver.tur -t 100 -z -d 5

Finally, here is an example of a Binary Adder. It counts upwards indefinitely starting at the current value in the tape. In this case 0.






Due to the fact this machine only shows relevant data on the tape whilst in state 1 we can use the -p tag to limit tape output to the console only while in that state

java TuringMachine < Adder.tur -t 100 -p 1


The code in this project requires the JArgs file CmdLineParser.java, which can be acquired here https://github.com/purcell/jargs