Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 2012 - Computers - 401 pages

A Wall Street Journal Best Business Book of 2012
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012

In this revealing account of how the digital universe exploded in the aftermath of World War II, George Dyson illuminates the nature of digital computers, the lives of those who brought them into existence, and how code took over the world.
 
In the 1940s and ‘50s, a small group of men and women—led by John von Neumann—gathered in Princeton, New Jersey, to begin building one of the first computers to realize Alan Turing’s vision of a Universal Machine. The codes unleashed within this embryonic, 5-kilobyte universe—less memory than is allocated to displaying a single icon on a computer screen today—broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things, and our universe would never be the same. Turing’s Cathedral is the story of how the most constructive and most destructive of twentieth-century inventions—the digital computer and the hydrogen bomb—emerged at the same time.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Paul_S - LibraryThing

Title should read "Von Neumann machines: The human stories". You're welcome dear publisher. I hope you've already read and know the history of the creation of the computer because this book dispenses ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PDCRead - LibraryThing

Three quarters of a century ago a small number of men and women gathered in Princeton, New Jersey. Under the direction of John von Neumann they were to begin building one of the world’s first ... Read full review

Contents

I953
11
Neumann János
40
MANIAC
64
Fuld 219
88
6J6 108
154
Monte Carlo
175
Ulams Demons
200
Barricellis Universe
225
Turings Cathedral
243
Engineers Dreams
266
Theory of SelfReproducing Automata
282
Key to Archival Sources
339
Index
379
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

George Dyson is a science historian as well as a boat designer and builder. He is also the author of Baidarka, Project Orion, and Darwin Among the Machines.

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