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The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing

David, Martin; Davis, Martin

Editore: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000
ISBN 10: 0393047857 / ISBN 13: 9780393047851
Nuovi / Hardcover / Quantità: 1
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Titolo: The Universal Computer: The Road from ...

Casa editrice: W. W. Norton & Company

Data di pubblicazione: 2000

Legatura: Hardcover

Condizione libro: New


Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "The Universal Computer" traces the development of computer concepts by exploring with captivating detail the lives and work of the geniuses who first formulated them. Readers can come away with a revelatory understanding of how and why computers work and how the algorithms within them came to be. Major review attention. Codice inventario libreria ABE_book_new_0393047857

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One of the world's pioneers in the development of computer science offers a mesmerizing history of computers.

Computers are everywhere today--at work, in the bank, in artist's studios, sometimes even in our pockets--yet they remain to many of us objects of irreducible mystery. How can today's 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.

Recensione: Computers rely on such things as semiconductors, memory chips, and electricity. But they also rely on a hard-won body of scientific knowledge that has enabled the now-ubiquitous devices to perform complex calculations, multitask, and even play a game of solitaire.

Martin Davis, a fluent interpreter of mathematics and philosophy, locates the source of this knowledge in the work of the remarkable German thinker G. W. Leibniz, who, among other accomplishments, was a distinguished jurist, mining engineer, and diplomat but found time to invent a contraption called the "Leibniz wheel," a sort of calculator that could carry out the four basic operations of arithmetic. Leibniz subsequently developed a method of calculation called the calculus raciocinator, an innovation his successor George Boole extended by, in Davis's words, "turning logic into algebra." (Boole emerges as a deeply sympathetic character in Davis's pages, rather than as the dry-as-dust figure of other histories. He explained, Davis reports, that he had turned to mathematics because he had so little money as a student to buy books, and mathematics books provided more value for the money because they took so long to work through.) Davis traces the development of this logic, essential to the advent of "thinking machines," through the workshops and studies of such thinkers as Georg Cantor, Kurt Gödel, and Alan Turing, each of whom puzzled out just a little bit more of the workings of the world--and who, in the bargain, made the present possible. --Gregory McNamee

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