The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing

The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing

Author:

Hardcover, Pages: 257

Genres: Science, Computer Science, Nonfiction, Mathematics

Language: English

Reads: 12

Downloads: 783

Rating: Rated: 368 timesRate It

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Description

Computers are everywhere today -- at work, in the bank, in artists studios, sometimes even in our pockets -- yet they remain to many of us objects of irreducible mystery. How can todays computers perform such a bewildering variety of tasks if computing is just glorified arithmetic? The answer, as Martin Davis lucidly illustrates, lies in the fact that computers are essentially engines of logic. Their hardware and software embody concepts developed over centuries by logicians such as Leibniz, Boole, and Godel, culminating in the amazing insights of Alan Turing. The Universal Computer traces the development of these concepts by exploring with captivating detail the lives and work of the geniuses who first formulated them. Readers will come away with a revelatory understanding of how and why computers work and how the algorithms within them came to be.

Reviews
  •    Shaktiktilar Gaek
    2020
    I wouldn't have said this until reading the other reviews, and agreeing. I've never read it in one go ( or rather never found myself able to ). It sometimes spends a long time explaining some relatively trivial concept, and a short time will skim through another idea in a couple of chapters.

    All in all, this serves as a good reference manual for anyone interested in computer science, information theory and to some degree cognitive science.

    I think the ' Subjects-in-sequence ' approach is an attempt to lighten the admittedly weighty subject matter and make it easier to follow. I think by writing about them chronologically, it is supposed to read and feel like a traditional story. It fails because I don' think that's how the author normally would write, or certainly not how they think.

    What it does do is make it easy to take any one chapter on it's own and enjoy it without tracking back. I like that some time was spent on the individual logicians/mathematicians personalities ad private lives. I enjoyed reading about people 'shy to the point of weakness', about Newton's pride, plagiarism and peerlessness.

    I think that he inclusion of anecdotes about private lives achieves the purpose of making it accessible much more effectively than anything else.
    Reply
  •    Tygozahn Delgadofern
    2020
    I high recommend this book to understand theoretical basis of modern computer, especially for programmers. There are number of books about those subject, Gรถdel, Escher, and Bach / The Code / Logicomix for example, but this book is much easier to understand without any detours.
    Reply

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