Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Dec. 28, 2021, 8:28 a.m. Humanist 35.424 - media sources for Turing's tape

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 424.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2021-12-27 17:10:12+00:00
        From: Robert Royar <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.420: media sources for Turing's tape?

Likely, I misunderstand the problem. I can remember typing in HP-BASIC on
an old teletype station which could save the programs to paper tape that
could then be read back into the device. Looking for information about
keypunch and the history of tape, you might find discussions of
manufacturing automation dating from the early 19th century which used foot
and inch increments to readdress the position of readers on tapes made of
tied-together cards punched with patterns. There is also discussion of CNC
devices still in use that read and write paper or mylar tapes. These tapes
can be edited by cutting and splicing. Perhaps  "SIMULATION OF A TURING
MACHINE ON A DIGITAL COMPUTER" by Robert W. Coffin, Harry E. Goheen, and
Walter R. Stahl (
could give you some ideas about the availability near the time of Turing (a
decade or so later)

On Mon, Dec 27, 2021 at 4:33 AM Humanist <> wrote:

>               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 420.
>         Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
>                       Hosted by DH-Cologne
>                 Submit to:
>         Date: 2021-12-24 02:21:02+00:00
>         From: <>
>         Subject: Turing's Tape
> Hello Willard and Humanist subscribers,
> I am wondering if any one can point to work broaching the topic of cultural
> media sources for Turing’s Tape. I am struggling with how addressability
> can
> emerge from the idea of sequence (this I take to be important for storage
> and
> retrieval). It seems obvious that the cinema can supply the notion of
> sequence:
> celluloid running backwards and forwards. Turing of course predates the
> era of
> video with its time code (and hence addressability). I feel I am missing
> something in descriptions of Turing’s Tape.
> I am not after a causal relation but attempting to examine homologies.
> Appreciate any pointers.
> ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
> François Lachance
> Scholar-at-large
> Wannabe Professor of Theoretical and Applied Rhetoric
> to think is often to sort, to store and to shuffle: humble, embodied tasks

               Robert Delius Royar
 Caught in the net since 1985

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