Synopses & Reviews
Review
The subject of computing is vast, and it is difficult to imagine howa general introduction to its history can fit in one volume. Yet this is what the authors do here, judiciously selecting topics offundamental importance and providing short rigorous chapters explaining them, and their significance, both philosophical andtechnological, to modern endeavors in the field. This is a true history: in 31 chapters we travel from the dawn of counting in thePaleolithic to quantum computing of not-quite-tomorrow, visiting many fascinating places in between. Some theoretical topics, such asnumber representation, rational and irrational numbers and prime numbers are covered before diving back into historical events:Euclid, Diophantus, ancient codes and the origin of cryptography are all described. And so it goes: through the invention of abacus toFibonacci's numbers and decimal notation, and on into more and more complex subjects: cardinality, complex numbers, computability. ByChapter 18 we arrive at electronic computers, and the subjects from then on are relatively modern: algorithms, decidability, informationtheory, networks and plenty more. A rich overview to a field of tremendous and fundamental importance, this is both a book of historyand a gentle introduction to many of the subfields of mathematics presented herein.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
Synopsis
Exploring a vast array of topics related to computation, Computing: A Historical and Technical Perspective covers the historical and technical foundation of ancient and modern-day computing. The book starts with the earliest references to counting by humans, introduces various number systems, and discusses mathematics in early civilizations. It guides readers all the way through the latest advances in computer science, such as the design and analysis of computer algorithms.
Through historical accounts, brief technical explanations, and examples, the book answers a host of questions, including:
- Why do humans count differently from the way current electronic computers do?
- Why are there 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, etc.?
- Who invented numbers, when were they invented, and why are there different kinds?
- How do secret writings and cryptography date back to ancient civilizations?
Innumerable individuals from many cultures have contributed their talents and creativity to formulate what has become our mathematical and computing heritage. By bringing together the historical and technical aspects of computing, this book enables readers to gain a deep appreciation of the long evolutionary processes of the field developed over thousands of years. Suitable as a supplement in undergraduate courses, it provides a self-contained historical reference source for anyone interested in this important and evolving field.