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1. The Annotated Turing: A Guided
2. The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan
3. Turing (The Great Philosophers
4. The Essential Turing: Seminal
5. Alan Turing: The Enigma
6. Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of
7. Alan Turing (Profiles in Mathematics)
8. Alan Turing: The Troubled Genius
9. Alan Turing: The Architect of
10. Alan Turing's Automatic Computing
11. The Turing Programming Language:
12. Machines and Thought: The Legacy
13. Alan Turing: The Enigma of Intelligence
14. Turing and the Computer: The Big
15. Alan Turing. Erzählung.
16. Alan Turing
17. Alan Turing, Enigma (Computerkultur)
18. Connectionism, Concepts, and Folk
19. Parsing the Turing Test: Philosophical
20. Turing's Connectionism: An Investigation

1. The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine
by Charles Petzold
Paperback: 384 Pages (2008-06-16)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$8.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470229055
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Programming Legend Charles Petzold unlocks the secrets of the extraordinary and prescient 1936 paper by Alan M. Turing

Mathematician Alan Turing invented an imaginary computer known as the Turing Machine; in an age before computers, he explored the concept of what it meant to be computable, creating the field of computability theory in the process, a foundation of present-day computer programming.

The book expands Turing’s original 36-page paper with additional background chapters and extensive annotations; the author elaborates on and clarifies many of Turing’s statements, making the original difficult-to-read document accessible to present day programmers, computer science majors, math geeks, and others.

Interwoven into the narrative are the highlights of Turing’s own life: his years at Cambridge and Princeton, his secret work in cryptanalysis during World War II, his involvement in seminal computer projects, his speculations about artificial intelligence, his arrest and prosecution for the crime of "gross indecency," and his early death by apparent suicide at the age of 41. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Rich and surprisingly accessible
Don't let the title fool you: This isn't simply Alan Turing's groundbreaking paper "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem" with a handful of footnotes thrown in. While the paper is contained here in its entirety, there is, on average, about a paragraph of explanation for each line of Turing's prose. And before that, there is an extensive introduction to important concepts, starting with the distinctions between rational, irrational, algebraic, transcendental, and computable numbers--all explained in terms that any intelligent undergraduate should be able to understand. No mathematical background is assumed beyond algebra.

The Annotated Turing exceeds even the best undergraduate textbooks in explaining these concepts clearly yet concisely, and in doing so sets up the historical context that Turing worked in. When there is an interesting story to tell about Hilbert or Russell, he tells it. (Russell's life was, after all, sufficiently fascinating to be the subject of a recent comic book, Logicomix.) Those with a more extensive mathematical background will want to skim the early sections, but shouldn't skip them entirely.

What Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach did for Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem--a crucial discovery that was poorly understood outside of the domain of professional mathematicians--Petzold's book does for Turing's universal computer. If you have any interest whatsoever in the theory of computing, make this the first book you read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A 10 year quest to understand Turing's paper ends here
It was about 10 years ago when I first found Turing's original paper on Internet and thought it wouldn't be so hard to read and understand it (after all its "mere" computer science). Since then I've tried to digest it quite a few times on and off and never actually succeeded. Infect most of the time I got stuck on few nitty-gritty and just couldn't move forward. I have even bought/borrowed almost all books on the subject that falls in to "popular science" types. Needless to say, like many such books in same category, they just never go in to details and are practically useless for all practical purposes :).

So imagine my surprise when I see a book with title "Annotated Turing" and by none other than Charles Petzold who I've known as author who normally writes programming books. That surprise was only a start. I was simply shocked when I opened the book. It was as-if someone read your dream and made it a reality with absolute precision with zero compromises. If there is one such book like this for all of the milestone scientific papers, there would be a revolution in learning.

Let me put out some points what makes this book so perfect. Not just wishy-washy "near perfect", I'm saying SO PERFECT.
*First, the book contains explanation of every single line in Turing's paper. Literally. The format of the book is a line quoted from Turing's paper in bold and a paragraph or so of explanation and discussions for that line. Author's claim is that you can actually cut out all those lines and stitch them to recreate the Turing's paper in its entirety complete with page numbers! Now that's what I call precision.
*The book also includes all encompassing big picture overview, historical situation, importance, consequences and so on - nicely preparing reader for the journey.
*The book is so readable that I usually forget I'm reading a very technical book that goes in to very core of computer science. It's like nicest computer science professor reads you the paper line by line and answers all your questions, even those completely stupid ones.
*As I'd doubted many times, there are lots of errors in Turning original paper. This book amazingly points them out and corrects even the minor misprints. I'm just surprised how author even know so much "insider" details about those trivial misprints and errors.
*Turing's paper is full of obscure strange symbols (have you seen old gothic German font?) that are common in scientific literature today. Author explains all these symbols, what they mean, where they came from, what are the subtle differences and so on. Just amazing.
*Turing's paper have lot of omissions for explanations and steps which he probably left out as "exercise for reader" to keep his paper short. Sometime you might get stuck in those exercises and if you are not in academia you probably have no external help. This book deals with all these omissions and expands so beautifully on them that I can't imagine if there any better way to describe them.
*Apart from omissions, there are lot of shortcuts that Turing employs with rather flitting explanations or sometime absolutely none. This book covers you 100% for these shortcuts.
*A big part of understanding Turing's paper is actually mentally running his machine's step by step for all the examples he puts out. This book actually does this step-by-step run explanation making it so easier to read and understand quickly.

Anyway, some of you might think why one should even bother about reading this ancient computer science paper in first place? Answer is huge changes in the way we have started viewing universe recently. While Seth Lloyd's book "Programming the Universe" does good job of explaining this thinking, the summary is that the universe can be seen as computing machine rather than particle and energies in the realms of physics. There was even a paper that proposed that even a simple system consisting of billiard balls interacting in space is Turing complete! That means by setting billiards balls in some initial points in space and velocity can computer anything that your laptop can compute in theory. To understand advances in this area you have to fully understand what is Turing's machine and what it means to be Turing complete and how one can prove that a certain system is computationally Turing complete. That's where the paper comes in. Text books just don't do justice.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting...
I've just skimmed this book, so far, and will read it closely soon.However, I can't possibly be the only one to see the error at the start of Chapter 2 where he equates the counting numbers and the cardinal numbers.Surely all the mathematicians caught it - didn't they?The cardinals include 0, but he starts off with the series "1, 2, 3..."I note that Mathworld contains the same error, but wikipedia does not.The wikipedia article is better.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent!
The great ideas that are our intellectual inheritance are much less valuable if only a privileged few can understand them. We need more books like this one!

4-0 out of 5 stars A difficult but rewarding book
Petzold makes a great effort towards explaining Turing's famous proof. Turing's scheme of variable naming was extremely difficult for me to follow and so many formula's, particularly towards the end of the book where they become increasingly complex, were beyond me even with Petzold's clear and complete explanations. I was able to follow Petzold's explanations for why Turing takes the path he does throughout the book and overall feel that though I couldn't grasp some of the technicalities, I have an appreciation for the logical path Turing went down in envisioning his machine, and the role he played in the emergence of computers. ... Read more

2. The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer (Great Discoveries)
by David Leavitt
Paperback: 336 Pages (2006-11-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393329097
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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A "skillful and literate" (New York Times Book Review) biography of the persecuted genius who helped create the modern computer.To solve one of the great mathematical problems of his day, Alan Turing proposed an imaginary computer. Then, attempting to break a Nazi code during World War II, he successfully designed and built one, thus ensuring the Allied victory. Turing became a champion of artificial intelligence, but his work was cut short. As an openly gay man at a time when homosexuality was illegal in England, he was convicted and forced to undergo a humiliating "treatment" that may have led to his suicide.

With a novelist's sensitivity, David Leavitt portrays Turing in all his humanity—his eccentricities, his brilliance, his fatal candor—and elegantly explains his work and its implications. . ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars good explanations for the layperson
This is a good review of the life and intellectual accomplishments of Alan Turing, one of the seminal figures of 20th century mathematics. What I liked about this book was the author's willingness to try to explain Turing's major mathematical and scientific discoveries in layman's terms without resorting to either jargon or handwaving. The explanation of the way Turing used idealized computing machines to prove the Indeterminacy Theorem is superb. The material on the cracking of the Enigma code is also very good. There is also great sympathy for the difficulties Turing faced as a homosexual in a homophobic era. Some of the speculation regarding the influence of Turing's sexual orientation on his work I found a bit farfetched, but interesting nonetheless. This is a very worthwhile read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Impenetrable
As one who had been a fan of David Leavitt's previous work, I approached this book with certain expectations.Yes it was non-fiction etc. But I found it completely unreadable.Perhaps I should have just skipped over the turgid mathematical sections...but I was unable to without a sense that something essential would be lost...and yet those sections were Impenetrable.Unlessyou are a mathematician, I would suggest passing over this book in silence...

4-0 out of 5 stars The Most Helpful Discussion of What Turing Machines Do (from Ahadada Books)
If this book were instead a photograph of the subject, I would imagine Man Ray being the photographer, with the young Turing posed in such a manner that deep shadows are raked across his features.We have patches of pure light in this book--for instance in the author's explanation of exactly what Turing Machines do and how they do it, which I found to be one of the best sections of the book, and then we have the other parts which are handled well fact-wise, but without much of an imparting of the character of the subject. Leavitt tells us several times that Turing indeed had the ability not to impress himself upon his teachers and his colleagues, and perhaps was simply carrying over the biographical fact into the writing.These are the shadowy sections of the portrait we posit in which Turing seems to recede in favor of passages from E.M. Forster or of Leavitt's own interpretations of the possible psychological underpinnings of certain of Turing's ideas regarding intelligent machines.In these darknesses we see that Turing was close to his mother, yet this information is left tantalizingly vague.We get flashes of Turing's rather cruel sense of pedagogy, but this too is dropped into the murk.The central metaphor of "loss" in this tragedy is Turing's relationship with Christopher Morcom, the gifted young man whose early death stood as a kind of absolute in the genius' thought, yet that central experience is not delved into but remains ambiguously described, though it provides the frisson--the startling sense of closure--in the final sentence of the book.The "cracker jack prize" I was hoping to find buried in The Man Who Knew Too Much--an illumination of Wittgenstein's relationship with Turing--was missing.We see him sitting a bit like a rabbit stunned in the intense glare of the philosopher's regard, reiterating his mathematician's sense of the consequence of contradictions in closed systems, but we are left only with that.In short, this is an interesting picture to hang on the wall and contemplate, and a useful one in parts, but one that strikes this reader as being curiously incomplete, shadowy, and in many places--inert.Still, this is a good book and one that's worth a read.

2-0 out of 5 stars Easy read for the most part
I considered writing a bad review of this book some time back, but I finally compelled myself to finish reading the whole thing, and I have to redact my original thoughts that this work needed some help.

While it is true that unless you have taken a class in automata theory, you may get lost about half way through this book, it is well worth completing in order to come to grips with the whole story that encompasses Mr. Turing.

While true, Leavitt focuses on a primarily homosexual perspective of Turing, it does provide an alternative look at the man.I do feel that at times more than ample creative license was taken in this regard and wished that more attention might have been in critical analysis of Turing's personal papers which led Leavitt to these conclusions. Given that Leavitt takes such considerable pains to explain the context within which Turing's mathematical process took place, describing those around him, professors he did not even associate with... on and on, this seemed a bit odd and out of place with the rest of the story.

Anyway, I am glad I read it only for the references to other books that I have started to enjoy, including both Alan's mother's biography and the Enigma by Hodges.

I would also recommend to others who enjoy Turing history to look into BBC4's video, "Dangerous Thoughts".You can find it on google videos.

2-0 out of 5 stars Somewhere in Here is a Biography
Leavitt spent a lot of time teaching himself mathematics and learning the early science of how computers worked.The problem is that he spends half the book going over the theorems of Turning and some of his contemporaries. This is all fine and good, if math is your thing.Zeta probabilities and the function of (prime numbers at n-1 or something like that) have no interest for the average laymen; and especially for those of us who never got past algebra and think calculus is hard skin on the bottom of your foot.

This makes the title sort of a double entendre, leaving all of us at the short end of the stick because if he learned it, he told it to us.Some of the explanations run eight or ten pages.This of course makes reading this short book (under 300 pages) even shorter, though it's like hitting yourself in the head, it only feels great when it's over.If your a good skimmer and know where to look it's probably an enjoyable book.In my case I kept hoping that it would get more interesting but it never did.

More on Turing's life (or maybe there just wasn't any more) would have been preferable to more on his mathematical findings. ... Read more

3. Turing (The Great Philosophers Series)
by Andrew Hodges
Paperback: 64 Pages (1999-07)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$239.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415923786
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Philosophy is one of the most intimidating and difficult of disciplines, as any of its students can attest. This book is an important entry in a distinctive new series from Routledge: The Great Philosophers. Breaking down obstacles to understanding the ideas of history's greatest thinkers, these brief, accessible, and affordable volumes offer essential introductions to the great philosophers of the Western tradition from Plato to Wittgenstein.In just 64 pages, each author, a specialist on his subject, places the philosopher and his ideas into historical perspective. Each volume explains, in simple terms, the basic concepts, enriching the narrative through the effective use of biographical detail. And instead of attempting to explain the philosopher's entire intellectual history, which can be daunting, this series takes one central theme in each philosopher's work, using it to unfold the philosopher's thoughts. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars How natural philosophy helped invent the computer...
To fully answer the question whether machines can think seems to presuppose the question "what is thinking?" In other words, how will we know when a machine thinks? Will it tell us? Will it compose sonnets? The eponymous "Turing test" attempts to unravel this paradox. To greatly simplify, the test states that if a human interpreter, alone in a room, cannot distinguish answers given by a machine, in a separate obscured room, from answers given by a human being, in a third obscured room, then the machine must have human-like intelligence. Alan Turing, often credited with the invention of the now ubiquitous computer, proposed these criteria in a 1950 paper called "Computing Machinery and Intelligence." He was not trying to invent a computer, even when he provided an unmistakable model for one, the "Turing Machine," in a 1936 paper. Instead, he sought to model the computable aspects of the human mind. The mathematician Hilbert's work gave rise to the "Entscheidungsproblem," or the problem of "decidability." Answering this problem, as the young Turing did, also led to his conceptual blueprint of what we now know as a computer. Nonetheless, the human mind remained Turing's focus, and that's why he's represented in "The Great Philosophers" series. Arguably, his predominant question was "what is thinking?" or, at least, "how does the mind compute?" His answers had far-reaching implications for the philosophy of mind, amongst other disparate fields. Early twentieth century mathematical logic, then seen as "the quest for truth" by eminent philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, was Turing's starting point.

This book's author, Andrew Hodges, also wrote an earlier, much longer, biography called "Alan Turing: The Enigma." Hodges uses this diminutive book to update some of the thoughts presented in that earlier 1983 biography. This 1999 book, a follow-up of sorts, traces Turing's thought from early adulthood to his sad and tragic suicide in 1954. Though some 58 pages long, it feels comprehensive. Apart from "The Turing Machine," "The Universal Machine," "The Turing Test," and his early development, the breezy text covers Turing's travails with homosexuality, his cryptographic feats during World War II, his conception of a discrete state machine, his thoughts on ESP, his brief but somewhat uneventful run-in with Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1937, and reactions to his work by Roger Penrose, a skeptic concerning "mechanical intelligence." Throughout, Hodges refers to Turing as a "natural philosopher" in that he ignored many of the demarcations that still silo academia, such as the distinction between "pure" and "applied" mathematics. Though this attitude led to some of his greatest intellectual feats, it also made him somewhat cryptic to academia. To this day, Turing's work defies solid categorization. Nonetheless, his influence on modern life remains indisputable, though many consider, controversially, von Neumann the "real" inventor of the computer (his EDVAC predates Turing's ACE by one year). In any case, anyone searching for a good overview of Turing's thought and influence will find it here. And although the text sometimes becomes very technical, it thankfully never becomes inaccessible.

Alan Turing met a sad end, as described in this book's final pages. Blackmailed and arrested for then illegal homosexual activity, he took "nature altering" drugs rather than face prison. Thereafter barred from a normal life, he ate an apple laced with cyanide in 1954. The sardonic syllogism he wrote, included in the book, provides a tragic but apt summary for Turing's later life. More than fifty years later, his ideas and influence continue to spread as computers dominate the everyday lives of millions. Artificial Intelligence also considers him a forbearer. This small book exposes not only why Turing was a great philosopher in classic and modern senses, but how he indubitably shaped today's world and culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction.
Very good summary of the work of Alan Turing: his influence on mathematics (where he tried to replace the notion of 'provable' by 'computable') and on the development of the computer.
For me, this little book proves that most of Turing's work has been countered by Roger Penrose. For Penrose, the human mind is capable of the uncomputable, while Turing treats the human brain as a computable machine.
The discussion Turing had with Wittgenstein on the 'liar' paradox has been solved by Tarski (see his difficult book 'Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics').
Obviously, Turing did not play in the same league as the one of geniuses like Gödel or Russell.
Also good information on his tragic personal life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Short, Sassy, and to the Point
Look, sometimes you just don't want to spend days or weeks of your life getting to know some famous personage in intellectual history.At heart, you're lazy, and you're somewhat cheap too.So what better way to get a brief overview of Alan Turing than by Andrew Hodges' cheap and concise book on said?Well, I couldn't think of any, so I picked this up 53 page gem on a whim. It's a historical overview of Turing's career with balanced attention to his thought.With the exception of about 8 pages that only will profit those who have had some experience with what's called the "Halting Problem" in symbolic logic, this is a very readable book. What is a Turing Machine and why are they important to the modern notion of computers?Why is Turing considered the inventor of computational theory, even if not the outright inventor of the computer? (And this last claim is somewhat debatable, as the book points out.) What was Turing doing for the British Government during the war? Why did Turing get fired from his job? There are all sorts of little tidbits of information here, even about his sex life.Ho ho!Also in the book is some discussion of whether a computer can be made to think.Naturally, some of Turing's more interesting comments are quoted on this topic, and Hodges gives attention to the more recent ideas of Roger Penrose, a philosopher whose ideas on artificial consciousness have been influential on the contemporary scene.Okay, you got the time to read 53 pages, and for not more money than a good McDonald's meal, you could be reading it in a day or so if you'll just click the...ordering button...

5-0 out of 5 stars Turing: A concise but sophisticated biography
This is a superb, yet brief overview of Turing, his life and his math.Although this is a sophisticated approach to the man and his work, the writing is readily accessible by a lay person, like myself. One can get aclear flavor of the importance of his work and how his Turing machine modelis not just the framework for Bill Gate's wealth but also as a profoundextention of the Undecidable problem first addressed by Godel. ... Read more

4. The Essential Turing: Seminal Writings in Computing, Logic, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Life plus The Secrets of Enigma
by Alan M. Turing
Paperback: 622 Pages (2004-11-18)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$19.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0198250800
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Alan Turing was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. In 1935, aged 22, he developed the mathematical theory upon which all subsequent stored-program digital computers are modeled. At the outbreak of hostilities with Germany in September 1939, he joined the Goverment Codebreaking team at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire and played a crucial role in deciphering Engima, the code used by the German armed forces to protect their radio communications. Turing's work on the version of Enigma used by the German navy was vital to the battle for supremacy in the North Atlantic. He also contributed to the attack on the cyphers known as 'Fish,' which were used by the German High Command for the encryption of signals during the latter part of the war. His contribution helped to shorten the war in Europe by an estimated two years. After the war, his theoretical work led to the development of Britain's first computers at the National Physical Laboratory and the Royal Society Computing Machine Laboratory at Manchester University. Turing was also a founding father of modern cognitive science, theorizing that the cortex at birth is an 'unorganized machine' which through 'training' becomes organized 'into a universal machine or something like it.' He went on to develop the use of computers to model biological growth, launching the discipline now referred to as Artificial Life. The papers in this book are the key works for understanding Turing's phenomenal contribution across all these fields. The collection includes Turing's declassified wartime 'Treatise on the Enigma'; letters from Turing to Churchill and to codebreakers; lectures, papers, and broadcasts which opened up the concept of AI and its implications; and the paper which formed the genesis of the investigation of Artifical Life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent edition, long overdue
Enjoy this profound book by the father of the Digital Age. The Essential Turing is an excellent edition and long overdue. Turing's essential works are finally available in a single volume.Turing is one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century--he was rated up there with Einstein in Time magazine's 'The Century's Greatest Minds'. Copeland's lucid commentaries on Turing's work are fascinating and helpful. OUP is to be congratulated on putting Turing into the hands of the popular science book-buyer at long last.

5-0 out of 5 stars a long overdue book
A long overdue book. Copeland collects together Turing's greatest papers. As in where Turing tackled the fundamentals of what is now called a Turing machine - ie. a universal computer. Plus other papers where Turing ruminated on artificial intelligence, and founded that field. Plus coming up with the Turing Test for AI.

Turing's papers are interleaved with chapters by Copeland that give extra context to the times in which Turing lived. Notably on Turing's crucial contribution to the Enigma project at Bletchley Park during World War 2. It is no exaggeration to say that his insight into decoding the German encryptions saved the lives of thousands of Allied soldiers.

Valuable also is a reprinting of Turing's "Treatise on the Enigma", which was only declassified in 1996. Though by then, its essence had been known for decades. Finally, the book letsyou read Turing's words on Enigma.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most Accessible Introduction to Turing
This is a terrific book. Turing is one of the most important figures of our time.Copeland's lucid and helpful introductions to Turing's key works make fascinating reading.(The hundreds of footnotes are testimony to the depth of scholarship that underlies Copeland's smooth prose.)Copeland makes Turing, and so the origins of the digital age, accessible to all.

4-0 out of 5 stars A valuable addition in paraphrasing Turing
Copeland's "Essential Turing" reviews Turning's major writings and is a valuable source of knowledge for computer scientists and avid CS/Mathematics readers alike. Turing was a brilliant British mathematician, logician, and cryptographer and is widely considered to be the father of computer science. This book doesn't portray him merely as a code breaker but also provides commentary on his brilliant foundation work as on Artificial intelligence. Discussion on the ultimate Turing test (proposal for a test of a machine's capability to perform human-like conversation) and Entscheidungs Problem is worth reading.

I shelve this book next to Knuth's "The Art of Computer Programming" which may state what it's worth.

1-0 out of 5 stars A collection of Turing's papers
Copeland's book is basically a collection of some of Turing's original papers, completed with a short introduction for each part of the book. I was disappointed by this book as (1) one can easily find copies of Turing's work on the web, (2) there is very little additional value in Copeland's comments, and (3) the papers are not reproduced in their original typeset and layout. Elsevier's "Collected Works of A. M. Turing" (4 volumes) does a much better job and offers Turing's complete work. ... Read more

5. Alan Turing: The Enigma
by Andrew Hodges
Paperback: 608 Pages (2000-03-01)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$80.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802775802
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Alan Turing (1912 - 1954) was a British mathematician who made history: His breaking of the German U-boat Enigma cipher in World War II ensured Allied-American control of the Atlantic.But Turing's vision went far beyond the desperate wartime struggle.Already in the 1930s he had defined the concept of the universal machine, which underpins the computer revolution.In 1945 he was a pioneer of electronic computer design.But Turing's true goal was the scientific understanding of the mind, brought out in the drama and wit of the famous "Turing test" for machine intelligence, and his prophecy for the twenty-first century.

Drawn into the cockpit of world events and the forefront of technological innovation, Alan Turing was also an innocent and unpretentious gay man trying to live in a society that criminalized him.In 1952, he revealed his homosexuality and was forced to participate in a humiliating treatment program, and was ever after regarded as a security risk.His suicide in 1954 remains one of the many enigmas in an astonishing life story."As vivid a picture as one could hope for a most complex and intriguing man," says Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gdel, Escher, Bach.Both a compelling narrative and a work of scholarship, Alan Turing: The Enigma is the definitive biography of one of the greatest minds of the modern world.Amazon.com Review
Alan Turing died in 1954, but the themes of his life epitomize the turn of the millennium. A pure mathematician from a tradition that prided itself onits impracticality, Turing laid the foundations for modern computerscience, writes Andrew Hodges:

Alan had proved that there was no "miraculous machine" thatcould solve all mathematical problems, but in the process he had discoveredsomething almost equally miraculous, the idea of a universal machine thatcould take over the work of any machine.

During World War II, Turing was the intellectual star of Bletchley Park, thesecret British cryptography unit. His work cracking the German's Enigmamachine code was, in many ways, the first triumph of computer science. And Turing died because his identity as a homosexual was incompatible with cold-war ideas of security, implemented with machines and remorseless logic: "It was his own invention, and it killed the goose that laid the golden eggs."

Andrew Hodges's remarkable insight weaves Turing's mathematical and computerwork with his personal life to produce one of the best biographies of ourtime, and the basis of the Derek Jacobi movie Breaking the Code. Hodgeshas the mathematical knowledge to explain the intellectual significance ofTuring's work, while never losing sight of the human and social picture:

In this sense his life belied his work, for it could not becontained by the discrete state machine. At every stage his life raisedquestions about the connection (or lack of it) between the mind and thebody, thought and action, intelligence and operations, science and society,the individual and history.

And Hodges admits what all biographers know, but few admit, about theirsubjects: "his inner code remains unbroken." Alan Turing is still anenigma. --Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Histories
Two books for the price of one.
The first is an excellent biography of Alan Turing and his contributions to number theory, computer science, cryptography, and World War II.He was an amazing man, although it's hard to escape the conclusion that his post-war years were nothing but a footnote to Bletchley.
The second is a frank history of homosexuality in the U.K. in the years immediately before and after the war. It's amazing how far we've come.
If there's a criticism of this book, it's that the author never really seems to connect the two themes.The only thing they have in common is Alan Turing; his homosexuality had no apparent influence on his mathematics, and his mathematics had no obvious impact on his sexuality.The whole gay side of Turing's life probably could have been left out of this work with little appreciable impact.
That minor exception aside, this is a beautiful work.I particularly appreciate Hodges's treatment of Turing's suicide; he doesn't blame it on the estrogen treatments, on British intelligence, on GCHQ security, or on the Freemasons.Turing simply killed himself for no apparent reason.(Why Douglas Hofstadter, who wrote the introduction to the book, blamed Turing's death on "a chemistry accident" is a mystery.)
Hodges is an elegant writer who should have taken up literature instead of mathematics.

2-0 out of 5 stars Excruciatingly Detailed
This biography on Alan Turing would have been so much better if the author had just thrown out about half the excruciatingly detailed descriptions of every single thing that happened in young Turing's life.

The first 100 pages and he's not even out of college yet.Boring and a little bit pointless.I'd like to recommend the book, but I'm only about half-way through and find myself skipping entire pages - I mean, who really wants to read all those letters he wrote to home when he was at boarding school?It's a little like reading the shopping list of a famous person - no matter how interesting that person may have been, it's just not that interesting to read about the mundane details of his or her life.

For a really great biography on another enigmatic scientist, try "Tesla - Man Out of Time" by Margaret Cheney. Now, that's the way to write a biography.

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting portrait of a compelling misfit
The book is well titled as the real Alan Turing was an enigma to many of those who knew him and perhaps even to himself.It is another example of how genius moves to its own rhythms and manages to get noticed in spite of itself.
Turing is, more than anyone else, the father of the modern computer, a man who could visualize something which did not even exist.It was his vision that eventually came to be the most powerful innovation in the last half century.Hodges book explores Turing's entire life and illuminates the context in which apparently arcane and irregular thinking came to have profound ramifications at the right moment and time.

4-0 out of 5 stars A scientifically useful biography
I read part of this book in 1985 while trying to understand chaotic orbits. The problem was to understand how an orbit can be deterministic and apparently random. When I read Hodges' description of the Turing machine then I realized that it is easy to answer the question, and was able to write down the answer: one simply digitizes the map or ode, initial condition, and all the control parameters in some base of arithmetic, and then studies the action of a (digitized) positive Liapunov exponent on a digit string. I can't comment on the rest of the book, but Hodges does a very good job of presenting Turing's ideas of computable numbers and computable functions. When my collaborator Palmore read the description I refer to here, he said that he nearly fell out of his chair. We solved the problem of computability of chaotic orbits in that era together.

Is there a good book on computability and automata? So far, all the automata texts that I'm aware of are written in a special holy language of abstract computerize.The language erects an unnecessary barrierto understanding the basic ideas. Is Turing's original paper a proof, or an explanation of what he'd understood? I don't know, but I can refer the reader to "Descartes' Dream" by Reuben and Hersch for perespective.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good biography, perhaps too long.
If you consider to read this book in order to know about Alan Turing's life, definetely this is the book. In it you will learn about the code breakers, about the WWII spy technology and also about the science aplied to War, however, when I read it I found out that sometimes too many pages (550) can make it boring (more than 20 pages dedicate about how to build a subroutine in a program, more than 20 pages about homosexuality laws, more than 20 pages about historic information from India). Being so detailed makes sometimes forget about the main issue. That is why I didn't give it 5 stars. ... Read more

6. Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of a Great Thinker
Paperback: 542 Pages (2010-11-02)
list price: US$109.00 -- used & new: US$109.00
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Asin: 3642057446
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Written by a distinguished cast of contributors, Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of a Great Thinker is the definitive collection of essays in commemoration of the 90th birthday of Alan Turing. This fascinating text covers the rich facets of his life, thoughts, and legacy, but also sheds some light on the future of computing science with a chapter contributed by visionary Ray Kurzweil, winner of the 1999 National Medal of Technology. Further, important contributions come from the philosopher Daniel Dennett, the Turing biographer Andrew Hodges, and from the distinguished logician Martin Davis, who provides a first critical essay on an emerging and controversial field termed "hypercomputation".




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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Turing died too soon
Teuscher has gathered together a set of thought provoking essays about Turing and the ideas he espoused. The diverse range of the essays is a good reflection of Turing's genius.

The essay on making a self-replicating Turing machine reflects earlier speculations on what might more generally be considered a self-replicating Neumann machine.

There is a palpable sense of loss in the book. Turing died at a relatively young age. What if he had lived decades longer? He could have seen the immense flowering of computing, in hardware and software. With his genius, what other insights might he have given us? If you wish, you can regard the book as speculations into this unknowable.

One of the book's authors, Copeland, has recently edited another book -'The Essential Turing', which has essays by Turing himself, and you may want to look at that text.

5-0 out of 5 stars Man of many parts
This book celebrates the 90th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing by bringing together a large set of essays on topics as diverse and colourful as the work and life of the man himself. Turing's fundamental contributions to computing kick started the modern computing era. However, he also made early and outstanding contributions to artificial intelligence, artificial neural networks, morphogenesis, cryptology and the philosophy of mind. The book touches on all these areas and includes contributions from luminaries such as Martin Davis, Daniel Dennett, Andrew Hodges, Douglas Hofstadter and Ray Kurzweil. The book also contains some essays on contemporary topics related to Turing's work such as the controversial area of so-called hypercomputation. While many of the essays are advanced, the material remains accessible and interesting. Turing had a strikingly original and whimsical imagination - reflecting this, and unlike many books on technical topics, this one includes some of the kind of speculation that is bound to fire the imagination of readers. Will computers outstrip human intelligence, and when might it happen? Will we become more like computers, or will they become more like us? Ninety years on from the birth of Alan Turing such issues are more relevant and pressing than ever, and this book makes an excellent advanced introduction to the breadth of Turing's work. ... Read more

7. Alan Turing (Profiles in Mathematics)
by Jim Corrigan
Library Binding: 112 Pages (2008-06)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$12.89
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Asin: 1599350645
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8. Alan Turing: The Troubled Genius of Bletchley Park Hall (Makers of Modern Science)
by Ray Spangenburg, Diane Kit Moser
Library Binding: 160 Pages (2010-12)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$35.00
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Asin: 0816061750
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9. Alan Turing: The Architect of the Computer Age (Impact Biography)
by Ted Gottfried
Library Binding: 128 Pages (1996-10)
list price: US$24.00
Isbn: 053111287X
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10. Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine: The Master Codebreaker's Struggle to Build the Modern Computer
Hardcover: 558 Pages (2005-06-30)
list price: US$150.00 -- used & new: US$120.00
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Asin: 0198565933
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The mathematical genius Alan Turing (1912-1954) was one of the greatest scientists and thinkers of the 20th century. Now well known for his crucial wartime role in breaking the ENIGMA code, he was the first to conceive of the fundamental principle of the modern computer-the idea of controlling a computing machine's operations by means of a program of coded instructions, stored in the machine's 'memory'. In 1945 Turing drew up his revolutionary design for an electronic computing machine-his Automatic Computing Engine ('ACE'). A pilot model of the ACE ran its first program in 1950 and the production version, the 'DEUCE', went on to become a cornerstone of the fledgling British computer industry. The first 'personal' computer was based on Turing's ACE. Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine describes Turing's struggle to build the modern computer. The first detailed history of Turing's contributions to computer science, this text is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the computer and the history of mathematics. It contains first hand accounts by Turing and by the pioneers of computing who worked with him. As well as relating the story of the invention of the computer, the book clearly describes the hardware and software of the ACE-including the very first computer programs. The book is intended to be accessible to everyone with an interest in computing, and contains numerous diagrams and illustrations as well as original photographs.The book contains some previously unpublished work by Turing as well as data that has only recently been declassified, and there are in addition chapters describing Turing's path-breaking research in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Life (A-Life). The book has an extensive system of hyperlinks to The Turing Archive for the History of Computing, an on-line library of digital facsimiles of typewritten documents by Turing and the other scientists who pioneered the electronic computer. ... Read more

11. The Turing Programming Language: Design and Definition
by R. C. Holt, Philip A. Matthews, J. Alan Rosselet, J. R. Cordy
 Paperback: 325 Pages (1987-11)
list price: US$38.00
Isbn: 0139331360
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12. Machines and Thought: The Legacy of Alan Turing, Volume I (Mind Association Occasional Series)
Paperback: 312 Pages (1999-05-20)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$41.16
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Asin: 0198238762
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This is the first of two volumes of essays in commemoration of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in the theory of artificial intelligence and computer science continues to provoke wide discussion. The essays focus on three questions: What, if any, are the limits on machine "thinking"? Can a machine be genuinely intelligent? And, Might we ourselves be biological machines? Contributors include Chris Fields, Joseph Ford, Robert M. French, Anthony Galton, Robin Gandy, Clark Glymour, J. R. Lucas, Donald Michie, Peter Mott, Ajit Narayanan, Herbert A. Simon, Aaron Sloman, Ian Stewart, and Blay Whitby. ... Read more

13. Alan Turing: The Enigma of Intelligence
by Andrew Hodges
 Paperback: 592 Pages (1985-01-28)

Isbn: 0045100608
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14. Turing and the Computer: The Big Idea
by Paul Strathern
Paperback: 112 Pages (1999-04-20)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$3.31
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Asin: 038549243X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Turing and the Computer offers an encapsulation of the groundwork that led to the invention of the computer as we know it and an absorbing account of the man who helped develop it. Eccentric and principled, Alan Turing would lay aside a brilliant career in mathematics to serve his country by breaking German codes during the Second World War. Openly homosexual, he would later be put on trial on indecency charges and forced to undergo hormone treatments that wrecked his body and his spirit. But the modern machine he helped create lives on. Just a few of the big ideas included in this riveting book are how Turing mapped out the theory of computers before a single computer had been conceived, how Turing's Colossus broke the German Enigma codes, and Turing's proof of the existence of artificial intelligence.Amazon.com Review
Few concepts in the history of 20th-century thought are asrich with both philosophical and practical implications as thecomputer. And few people in the history of computing are asintellectually and personally complex as Alan Turing, the man whosebrilliant mathematical imagination laid the foundation for computersas we know them. You could easily spend the rest of the millenniumreading up on Turing and his ideas, but if you've only got anafternoon, this engaging, pamphlet-length summary of the man's lifeand work should get you nicely up to speed.

Author Paul Strathernsets Turing's accomplishments in their historical context. He startswith the long prehistory of the computer--its roots in devices such asthe abacus, the slide rule, and Charles Babbage's remarkablysophisticated 19th-century "difference engine." Strathern then movesdeftly through the great mathematical debates that led to Turing'sformulation of the abstract "universal computing machine" in themid-1930s. The author also lucidly presents Turing's contributions toturning that abstraction into a concrete mechanism, beginning withTuring's work on the Colossus machine, which cracked Germany's secretcodes during World War II.

Strathern conveys with equal vividnessthe haunted private side of Turing's life--his furtive homosexuality,his difficult relationships, and his conviction in the early '50s oncharges of indecency, a not-so-private scandal that apparently led tohis suicide. The book owes its rich detail to the work of pioneeringTuring biographer Alan Hodges, and Strathern graciously acknowledgesthe debt. But the accomplishment of packing Turing's big life and bigideas into such a compact package is entirely Strathern'sown. --Julian Dibbell ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Computer Journalism
If you want to read about Turing and the origins of computing on the level and in the style of your Sunday newspaper, this is your book (especially if that Sunday newspaper of yours comes in tabloid format). Otherwise, go for something more intelligent, like A. Hodges, Davies or Copeland.

5-0 out of 5 stars Learn about computer history!
What? You have never heard of Alan Turing? You don't deserve tolive! Quick, buy this book (which [is inexpensive]) and learn everything about computer history before uncle Gabriel discover it and pull your ear lobes! This book shows the computer history, beginning from abacus and obviously focuses at Alan Turing and his most important inventions for computing history, the Colossus and the ENIAC. What? You have never heard of ENIAC? Promise to us: come back here in Hardware Secrets only after you have finished reading this book, ok?

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice biography, but not technical enough
This book gives a short overview over the life of Alan Turing, though it does not go as deep into detail as Douglas Hofstaedter does - and that was just one article in his Metamagicum collection! But if you don't already have Hofstaedter on your bookshelf, you might as well buy this book.

Unfortunately, the mathematical and technical stuff in the book are only described very vaguely - I did not understand how the Enigma code was cracked, or how the proofs concerning computability worked. I am not quite sure whether the author understood what he was writing about.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice biography, but not technical enough
This book gives a short overview over the life of Alan Turing, though it does not go as deep into detail as Douglas Hofstaedter does - and that was just one article in his Metamagicum collection! But if you don't already have Hofstaedter on your bookshelf, you might as well buy this book.

Unfortunately, the mathematical and technical stuff in the book are only described very vaguely - I did not understand how the Enigma code was cracked, or how the proofs concerning computability worked. I am not quite sure whether the author understood what he was writing about.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good appetizer
This little book offers a quick overview of the history of the computer until eventually settling on Alan Turing and his paramount contributions. Obviously it is not meant to be exhaustive but it opens up a menu of topicsto be followed if one is interested, all circling around Turing: computertheory, mathematics and the solution of cryptographical problems, BletchleyPark's contribution to winning WorldWarII, artificial intelligence,mathematical theory, mid-20th century persecution of homosexuals inBritain, eccentricity and the nature of genius, the very peculiarpersonality of Turing himself. It's a little book that explains some basicsand opens many doors, for which one has to be grateful. ... Read more

15. Alan Turing. Erzählung.
by Rolf Hochhuth, Otto F. Beer, Toni Meissner, Lucien F. Trueb
Paperback: 208 Pages (1998-12-01)
-- used & new: US$7.50
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Asin: 3499224631
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16. Alan Turing
by David E. Newton
Paperback: 124 Pages (2003-07)
list price: US$20.99
Isbn: 1401090796
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17. Alan Turing, Enigma (Computerkultur) (German Edition)
by Andrew Hodges
Hardcover: 662 Pages (1994-11-16)
list price: US$42.95 -- used & new: US$571.56
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Asin: 3211826270
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Alan Turing, Enigma ist die Biographie des legendären britischen Mathematikers, Logikers, Kryptoanalytikers und Computerkonstrukteurs Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954). Turing war einer der bedeutendsten Mathematiker dieses Jahrhunderts und eine höchst exzentrische Persönlichkeit. Er gilt seit seiner 1937 erschienenen Arbeit "On Computable Numbers", in der er das Prinzip des abstrakten Universalrechners entwickelte, als der Erfinder des Computers. Er legte auch die Grundlagen für das heute "Künstliche Intelligenz" genannte Forschungsgebiet.Turings zentrale Frage "Kann eine Maschine denken?" war das Motiv seiner Arbeit und wird die Schlüsselfrage des Umgangs mit dem Computer werden. Die bis 1975 geheimgehaltene Tätigkeit Turings für den britischen Geheimdienst, die zur Entschlüsselung des deutschen Funkverkehrs führte, trug entscheidend zum Verlauf und Ausgang des Zweiten Weltkriegs bei. ... Read more

18. Connectionism, Concepts, and Folk Psychology: The Legacy of Alan Turing, Volume II (Mind Association Occasional Series)
Paperback: 296 Pages (1999-05-20)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$52.34
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Asin: 0198238754
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This is the second of two volumes of essays in commemoration of Alan Turing. Key issues in contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science are explored in the course of celebrating Turing's work. The distinguished cast of contributors includes Paul M. Churchland, L. Jonathan Cohen, Mario Compiani, Peter Dayan, Beatrice de Gelder, Douglas R. Hofstadter, Frank Jackson, Michael Morris, Jon Oberlander, Christopher Peacocke, Philip Pettot, Ian Pratt, Joop Schopman and Aziz Shawky, Murray Shanahan, and Chris Thornton. ... Read more

19. Parsing the Turing Test: Philosophical and Methodological Issues in the Quest for the Thinking Computer (Volume 0)
Paperback: 520 Pages (2008-12-03)
list price: US$79.95 -- used & new: US$59.09
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Asin: 1402096240
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Parsing the Turing Test is a landmark exploration of both the philosophical and methodological issues surrounding the search for true artificial intelligence. Will computers and robots ever think and communicate the way humans do? When a computer crosses the threshold into self-consciousness, will it immediately jump into the Internet and create a World Mind? Will intelligent computers someday recognize the rather doubtful intelligence of human beings? Distinguished psychologists, computer scientists, philosophers, and programmers from around the world debate these weighty issues – and, in effect, the future of the human race – in this important volume.

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20. Turing's Connectionism: An Investigation of Neural Network Architectures
by Christof Teuscher
Paperback: 256 Pages (2001-10-25)
list price: US$135.00 -- used & new: US$112.41
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Asin: 1852334754
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Turing's connectionism provides a detailed and in-depth analysis of Turing's almost forgotten ideas on connectionist machines. In a little known paper entitled "Intelligent Machinery", Turing already investigated connectionist models as early as 1948. Unfortunately, his work was dismissed by his employer as a "schoolboy essay" and went unpublished until 1968, 14 years after his death.

In this book, Christof Teuscher analyzes all aspects of Turing's "unorganized machines". Turing himself also proposed a sort of genetic algorithm to train the networks. This idea has been resumed by the author and genetic algorithms are used to build and train Turing's unorganized machines. Teuscher's work starts from Turing's initial ideas, but importantly goes beyond them. Many new kinds of machines and new aspects are considered, e.g., hardware implementation, analysis of the complex dynamics of the networks, hypercomputation, and learning algorithms. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Turing's neural networks and genetical search
A programmable digital computer, based on Alan Turing's design, ran its first program in 1950 at the National Physical Laboratory, London. Even today, every computer in the world remains computationally equivalent to a Turing Machine. It is little known however, that Turing also investigated neural network architectures as early as 1948, and before the term genetic algorithm was coined, proposed configuring his networks with a "genetical search". In this book Teuscher presents the most extensive exploration of Turing's neural networks available. The book contains over 100 diagrams, detailed examinations of the logical behaviour of Turing's networks, experiments into their emergent properties and extensions of Turing's ideas based on recent findings. An understanding of Turing's networks allows insight into a number of modern research areas such as Kauffman's work on the principles of self-organisation, the boundaries of computability, and even the real neural networks of living things (Turing claimed that his neural networks were probably the simplest possible model of the human cortex). Because the discussion in the book starts with Turing's early networks and progresses through to current research, it can also be read as an accessible overview of the history of the field. In addition, the book makes it clear that there are many interesting research questions still to be answered in this area. As such, this book will be of interest to historians of computer science and modern researchers alike. ... Read more

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