A Turing Machine is a theoretical concept in computer science proposed by Alan Turing in 1936. It serves as a foundational model for understanding computation and algorithms. Essentially, a Turing Machine consists of a tape of infinite length divided into cells, a read/write head that can move along the tape, and a finite set of states. Each cell on the tape can contain a symbol from a finite alphabet, and the read/write head can read the symbol currently under it, write a new symbol, and move left or right along the tape based on the current state and the symbol read.
The machine operates according to a set of rules that determine its behavior. These rules specify what action the machine should take based on the current state and the symbol read from the tape. Turing Machines can simulate any algorithmic process, making them a fundamental concept in theoretical computer science. They provide insight into the limits and capabilities of computation, helping researchers understand what can and cannot be computed algorithmically. Turing Machines are essential in the study of computability theory, complexity theory, and the foundations of mathematics and computer science.