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A universal Turing machine is powerful enough to emulate any standard computer.
The question is: how simple can the rules for a universal Turing machine be?
Since the 1960s it has been known that there is a universal 7,4 machine. In A New Kind of Science, Stephen Wolfram found a universal 2,5 machine, and suggested that the particular 2,3 machine that is the subject of this prize might be universal.
The prize is for determining whether or not the 2,3 machine is in fact universal.