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Turing (A Novel about Computation) : The MIT Press - Christos H. Papadimitriou

Turing (A Novel about Computation)

The MIT Press

Paperback Published: 11th February 2005
ISBN: 9780262661911
Number Of Pages: 296
For Ages: 18+ years old

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Our hero is Turing, an interactive tutoring program and namesake (or virtual emanation?) of Alan Turing, World War II code breaker and father of computer science. In this unusual novel, Turing's idiosyncratic version of intellectual history from a computational point of view unfolds in tandem with the story of a love affair involving Ethel, a successful computer executive, Alexandros, a melancholy archaeologist, and Ian, a charismatic hacker. After Ethel (who shares her first name with Alan Turing's mother) abandons Alexandros following a sundrenched idyll on Corfu, Turing appears on Alexandros's computer screen to unfurl a tutorial on the history of ideas. He begins with the philosopher-mathematicians of ancient Greece -- "discourse, dialogue, argument, proof... can only thrive in an egalitarian society" -- and the Arab scholar in ninth-century Baghdad who invented algorithms; he moves on to many other topics, including cryptography and artificial intelligence, even economics and developmental biology. (These lessons are later critiqued amusingly and developed further in postings by a fictional newsgroup in the book's afterword.) As Turing's lectures progress, the lives of Alexandros, Ethel, and Ian converge in dramatic fashion, and the story takes us from Corfu to Hong Kong, from Athens to San Francisco -- and of course to the Internet, the disruptive technological and social force that emerges as the main locale and protagonist of the novel.Alternately pedagogical and romantic, Turing (A Novel about Computation) should appeal both to students and professionals who want a clear and entertaining account of the development of computation and to the general reader who enjoys novels of ideas.

Industry Reviews

"This novel is a fun read, but not a mere entertainment. It has profundity as a side effect." - Stuart M. Shieber, American Scientist"

"Alexandros"p. 1
Morcomp. 9
Trappedp. 11
Alexandrosp. 13
The Truthp. 23
Hubrisp. 33
Titsp. 47
Momp. 53
Rusty and Solap. 59
Vocesp. 65
Ex Machinaep. 73
F2Fp. 85
Layersp. 91
Simulantsp. 109
The Donp. 117
Runnerp. 133
The Daemonp. 139
The Wombp. 141
Free Marketp. 157
"I love you"p. 173
Complexityp. 177
Kytherap. 189
Little Thingsp. 199
Hide-and-Seekp. 209
AIp. 221
Turing's Testp. 235
"They'll kill me"p. 239
Ian and Turingp. 241
Turingp. 243
Afterword: From the Newsgroupp. 245
Acknowledgmentsp. 283
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262661911
ISBN-10: 0262661918
Series: The MIT Press
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 11th February 2005
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.1 x 13.8  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.32