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Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (Vintage)

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Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (Vintage) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence,” twenty-four-year-old Alan Turing announced in 1936. In Turing’s Cathedral, George Dyson focuses on a small group of men and women, led by John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, who built one of the first computers to realize Alan Turing’s vision of a Universal Machine. Their work would break the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things—and our universe would never be the same.

 

Using five kilobytes of memory (the amount allocated to displaying the cursor on a computer desktop of today), they achieved unprecedented success in both weather prediction and nuclear weapons design, while tackling, in their spare time, problems ranging from the evolution of viruses to the evolution of stars.

 

Dyson’s account, both historic and prophetic, sheds important new light on how the digital universe exploded in the aftermath of World War II. The proliferation of both codes and machines was paralleled by two historic developments: the decoding of self-replicating sequences in biology and the invention of the hydrogen bomb. It’s no coincidence that the most destructive and the most constructive of human inventions appeared at exactly the same time.

 

How did code take over the world? In retracing how Alan Turing’s one-dimensional model became John von Neumann’s two-dimensional implementation, Turing’s Cathedral offers a series of provocative suggestions as to where the digital universe, now fully three-dimensional, may be heading next.

Synopsis:

A Wall Street Journal Best Business Book of 2012

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012

In this revealing account of how the digital universe exploded in the aftermath of World War II, George Dyson illuminates the nature of digital computers, the lives of those who brought them into existence, and how code took over the world.

 

In the 1940s and ‘50s, a small group of men and women—led by John von Neumann—gathered in Princeton, New Jersey, to begin building one of the first computers to realize Alan Turing’s vision of a Universal Machine. The codes unleashed within this embryonic, 5-kilobyte universe—less memory than is allocated to displaying a single icon on a computer screen today—broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things, and our universe would never be the same. Turing’s Cathedral is the story of how the most constructive and most destructive of twentieth-century inventions—the digital computer and the hydrogen bomb—emerged at the same time.

Synopsis:

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012

In this revealing account of how the digital universe exploded in the aftermath of World War II, George Dyson illuminates the nature of digital computers, the lives of those who brought them into existence, and how code took over the world.

 

In the 1940s and ‘50s, a small group of men and women—led by John von Neumann—gathered in Princeton, New Jersey, to begin building one of the first computers to realize Alan Turing’s vision of a Universal Machine. The codes unleashed within this embryonic, 5-kilobyte universe—less memory than is allocated to displaying a single icon on a computer screen today—broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things, and our universe would never be the same. Turing’s Cathedral is the story of how the most constructive and most destructive of twentieth-century inventions—the digital computer and the hydrogen bomb—emerged at the same time.

About the Author

George Dyson is a historian of technology whose interests include the development (and redevelopment) of the Aleut kayak (Baidarka), the evolution of digital computing and telecommunications (Darwin Among the Machines), and the exploration of space (Project Orion).

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400075997
Author:
Dyson, George
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Science Reference-General
Subject:
History of Science-General
Subject:
Science & Technology
Subject:
Computers Reference-History and Society
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20121211
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
32 PAGES BandW ILLUSTRATIONS
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
8 x 5.15 x 0.95 in 0.9 lb

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Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (Vintage) New Trade Paper
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Product details 464 pages Vintage - English 9781400075997 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A Wall Street Journal Best Business Book of 2012

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012

In this revealing account of how the digital universe exploded in the aftermath of World War II, George Dyson illuminates the nature of digital computers, the lives of those who brought them into existence, and how code took over the world.

 

In the 1940s and ‘50s, a small group of men and women—led by John von Neumann—gathered in Princeton, New Jersey, to begin building one of the first computers to realize Alan Turing’s vision of a Universal Machine. The codes unleashed within this embryonic, 5-kilobyte universe—less memory than is allocated to displaying a single icon on a computer screen today—broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things, and our universe would never be the same. Turing’s Cathedral is the story of how the most constructive and most destructive of twentieth-century inventions—the digital computer and the hydrogen bomb—emerged at the same time.

"Synopsis" by , A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012

In this revealing account of how the digital universe exploded in the aftermath of World War II, George Dyson illuminates the nature of digital computers, the lives of those who brought them into existence, and how code took over the world.

 

In the 1940s and ‘50s, a small group of men and women—led by John von Neumann—gathered in Princeton, New Jersey, to begin building one of the first computers to realize Alan Turing’s vision of a Universal Machine. The codes unleashed within this embryonic, 5-kilobyte universe—less memory than is allocated to displaying a single icon on a computer screen today—broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things, and our universe would never be the same. Turing’s Cathedral is the story of how the most constructive and most destructive of twentieth-century inventions—the digital computer and the hydrogen bomb—emerged at the same time.

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