The Universal Computer The Road from Leibniz to Turing (Paperback)
|Author: Martin Davis|
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From the Publisher:
The breathtakingly rapid pace of change in computing makes it easy to overlook the pioneers who began it all. Written by Martin Davis, respected logician and researcher in the theory of computation, The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing explores the fascinating lives, ideas, and discoveries of seven remarkable mathematicians. It tells the stories of the unsung heroes of the computer age ? the logicians.
The story begins with Leibniz in the 17th century and then focuses on Boole, Frege, Cantor, Hilbert, and Gödel, before turning to Turing. Turing?s analysis of algorithmic processes led to a single, all-purpose machine that could be programmed to carry out such processes?the computer. Davis describes how this incredible group, with lives as extraordinary as their accomplishments, grappled with logical reasoning and its mechanization. By investigating their achievements and failures, he shows how these pioneers paved the way for modern computing.
Bringing the material up to date, in this revised edition Davis discusses the success of the IBM Watson on Jeopardy, reorganizes the information on incompleteness, and adds information on Konrad Zuse. A distinguished prize-winning logician, Martin Davis has had a career of more than six decades devoted to the important interface between logic and computer science. His expertise, combined with his genuine love of the subject and excellent storytelling, make him the perfect person to tell this story.
This accessible survey traces the history of computer science, profiles influential mathematicians and logicians, celebrates the long-term impact of their innovations, and probes the technological and intellectual foundation of this rapidly evolving field.
"[A] thoroughly enjoyable mix of biographical portraits and theoretical mathematics....Full of well-honed anecdotes and telling detail, the book reads like a masterful lecture." 10/09/2000 American Scientist
"How do you trace the intellectual lineage of something as complex and ubiquitous as the computer? Do you start from von Neumann or Babbage, Archimedes or al-Khwarizmi--or perhaps from the foggy origins of the abacus and the digit zero? In this beautifully written book, Martin Davis...argues that computers are in many ways the culmination of the glorious and powerful mathematical tradition we now call logic...[W]hatever the future may hold, the influence of logic on the development of computers and computation is undeniable and deep--and it could not have found a more eloquent and worthy chronicler." - Christos H. Papadimitriou March/April 2001