The Advent of the Algorithm: The 300-Year Journey from an Idea to the Computer

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001 - Mathematics - 345 pages
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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 G del and Turing, The Advent of the Algorithm is an epic tale told with clarity and imaginative brilliance.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - encephalical - LibraryThing

Horrible prose. Long digressions and vignettes where the author tries to get some point about algorithms or meta-algorithmic thinking across through truly unfortunate unrequited-love stories. Yes, as ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kevinashley - LibraryThing

Berlinksi's premise with this book seems to be to explain the idea of what an algorithm is and the history of the discovery and application of algorithms. At least I think it is. The author's prose ... Read full review

Contents

The Marketplace of Schemes
1
Under the Eye of Doubt
21
Bruno the Fastidious
46
Cargoload and CrackUp
64
Hilbert Takes Command
96
Gödel in Vienna
116
The Dangerous Discipline
146
Flight into Abstraction
155
The Peacock of Reason
205
Time Against Time
215
An Artifact of Mind
249
A World of Many Gods
275
The Cross of Words
306
EPILOGUE The Idea of Order at Key West
332
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
335
INDEX
337

The Imaginary Machine
181
Postscript
198

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About the author (2001)

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.

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