Turing's Cathedral

Turing's Cathedral

The Origins of the Digital Universe

Book - 2012
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"Legendary historian and philosopher of science George Dyson vividly re-creates the scenes of focused experimentation, incredible mathematical insight, and pure creative genius that gave us computers, digital television, modern genetics, models of stellar evolution--in other words, computer code"-- Provided by publisher.
"Legendary historian and philosopher of science George Dyson vividly re-creates the scenes of focused experimentation, incredible mathematical insight, and pure creative genius that gave us computers, digital television, modern genetics, models of stellar evolution--in other words, computer code. In the 1940s and '50s, a group of eccentric geniuses--led by John von Neumann--gathered at the newly created Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Their joint project was the realization of the theoretical universal machine, an idea that had been put forth by mathematician Alan Turing. This group of brilliant engineers worked in isolation, almost entirely independent from industry and the traditional academic community. But because they relied exclusively on government funding, the government wanted its share of the results: the computer that they built also led directly to the hydrogen bomb. George Dyson has uncovered a wealth of new material about this project, and in bringing the story of these men and women and their ideas to life, he shows how the crucial advancements that dominated twentieth-century technology emerged from one computer in one laboratory, where the digital universe as we know it was born"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780375422775
Characteristics: xxii, 401 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.

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MikeEe
Jun 22, 2016

While it may be called Turing's Cathedral, it's really Von Neumann's book. It can be dry and drawn-out, but folks who are into computer stuff will find the mix of human and machine tales enjoyable and enlightening. I did.

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LibraryUser53
May 23, 2013

Despite the title, only obliquely related to British mathematician and founder of the field of computer science, Alan Turing. Instead the focus is on von Neumann's development of early tube computers and their use in the design of thermo-nuclear weapons. If you'd like a sense of what it was like during those heady days at Princeton with von Neumann, Kurt Goedel, and Albert Einstein as faculty members, this is a good read. My only complaint is the author tends to lose focus and wander, rather than staying to the important themes and their resolution. In an apparent attempt to be provide the ultimate comprehensive biography, he gets bogged down in unimportant details, for example von Neumann's traffic tickets. This tends to make the going a little scatter-shot and tedius at times.

mikewerth Dec 27, 2011

spelling mistake in listing - digial should be digital

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LibraryUser53
May 23, 2013

A semi-biography of Hungarian scientist John von Neumann, who left Nazi Europe in the 1930's, and landed at the Princeton Advanced Study Institute, along with Kurt Goedel and Albert Einstein. In particular, Von Neumann's leadership in the design of the earliest electronic tube computers based on the Turing stored-program architecture, and then how these computers were used to design the first thermo- nuclear weapons

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