# Church, Alonzo (1903–1995)
American logician and professor at Princeton University who was an early
pioneer of theoretical computer science. He is best known for his development,
in 1934, of the so-called lambda calculus,
a model of computation, and his discovery, in 1936, of an "undecidable problem"
within it. This result preceded Alan Turing's
famous work on the halting problem,
which also pointed out the existence of a problem unsolvable by mechanical
means. Church and Turing then showed that the lambda calculus and the Turing
machine, which is used in the halting problem, are equivalent in capability;
they also demonstrated a variety of alternative "mechanical processes for
computation" with equivalent computational abilities. ## Related
entry
• Church-Turing
thesis ## Related categories
• MATHEMATICIANS
• COMPUTERS,
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND CYBERNETICS |