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The Universal Computer : The Road from Leibnitz to Turing - Martin Davis

The Universal Computer

The Road from Leibnitz to Turing

Hardcover Published: 17th October 2000
ISBN: 9780393047851
Number Of Pages: 272

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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 G?del, 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.

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. xi
Leibniz's Dreamp. 3
Boole Turns Logic into Algebrap. 21
Frege: From Breakthrough to Despairp. 41
Cantor: Detour through Infinityp. 59
Hilbert to the Rescuep. 83
Godel Upsets the Applecartp. 107
Turing Conceives of the All-Purpose Computerp. 139
Making the First Universal Computersp. 177
Beyond Leibniz's Dreamp. 199
Epiloguep. 209
Notesp. 211
Referencesp. 239
Indexp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780393047851
ISBN-10: 0393047857
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 17th October 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.08 x 16.05  x 2.59
Weight (kg): 0.57

Earn 116 Qantas Points
on this Book