Synopses & Reviews
Simply put, an algorithm is a set of instructions-it's the code that makes computers run. A basic idea that proved elusive for hundreds of years and bent the minds of the greatest thinkers in the world, the algorithm is what made the modern world possible. Without the algorithm, there would have been no computer, no Internet, no virtual reality, no e-mail, or any other technological advance that we rely on every day.
In The Advent of the Algorithm, David Berlinski combines science, history, and math to explain and explore the intriguing story of how the algorithm was finally discovered by a succession of mathematicians and logicians, and how this paved the way for the digital age. Beginning with Leibniz and culminating in the middle of the twentieth century with the groundbreaking work of Gödel and Turing, The Advent of the Algorithm is an epic tale told with clarity and imaginative brilliance.
Praise for The Advent of the Algorithm
"Berlinski has composed energetic, intertwined tales that make it nearly impossible for readers, once drawn in, to lose interest. . . . An uncommon achievement of both style and substance."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A tour de force, this book gives intellectual dilemmas a human face, while restoring grandeur and mystery to a universe still too richly intricate to fit within a computer protocol."-Booklist (starred review)
"An extraordinary book . . . Making simple and accessible that which had previously been murky and intimidating is Berlinski's specialty."-Chicago Tribune
The algorithm is just code, but it makes things happen. It's the set of abstract, detailed instructions that makes computers run. Any programmer can invent a new algorithm-and many have become millionaires doing just that. Computers, the Internet, virtual reality-our world is being transformed before our eyes, all because some quirky logicians and mathematicians followed the dream of ultimate abstraction and invented the algorithm. Beginning with Leibniz and culminating in the middle of this century with the work of little-known geniuses and eccentrics like Gödel and Turing, David Berlinski tells this epic tale with clarity and imaginative brilliance. You don't have to be a programmer or a math buff to enjoy his book. All you have to do is be fascinated by the greatest innovation of the twentieth century.
"A deep and instructive account of the algorithm's _development and its role in modern life" (Scientific American) _from the bestselling author of A Tour of the Calculus
About the Author
David Berlinski is the author of three novels and four works of nonfiction, including the bestselling A Tour of the Calculus. Berlinski received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and is a regular contributor to Commentary and Forbes ASAP. He lives in Paris.