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2007-11-22

 

More Annotated Turing

A Book's Progress

Before digital computers could do much of anything,
Alan Turing demonstrated what they could never do....

I fancy the tag line that Charles Petzold has placed on his new page about his forthcoming book, The Annotated Turing

It is now possible to pre-order the book.  I placed my order on amazon.com (US).  I think the provisional cover illustration is marvelous and I'm holding onto this copy of the image just in case they decide to change it (but please don't).

I'm eager to have the book and follow Petzold's narrative through Turing's paper.

The Mathematical-Logic Connection

For those who want more on the context of this activity, there are some other useful books on the mathematical-logic and computability aspects of Turing's work.  Here are some selections:

Berlinski, David.
The Advent of the Algorithm: The Idea that Rules the World. Harcourt (New York: 2000), ISBN 0-15-100338-6.  A poetic excursion into Liebniz's dream and the quest that led to the digital computer and more.
     
Davis, Martin.
Engines of Logic: Mathematicians and the Origin of the Computer.  W.W. Norton (New York: 2000), ISBN 0-393-32229-7 pbk.  An account of the contributors from Liebniz to Turing, to the modern digital computer and the puzzling questions raised around who we are and how we operate as we do.  There is a careful non-mathematical illustration of Turing Machines and some of the key ideas associated with them.
   
Davis, Martin (ed.)
The Undecidable: Basic Papers on Undecidable Propositions, Unsolvable Problems and Computable Functions.  Raven Press (New York: 1965), ISBN 0-911216-01-4.  A valuable collection of fundamental papers including those of Gödel, Church, and Turing.  The Petzold book will be an useful introduction to this kind of mathematical approach and the related work.  The Turing paper is here.

There are texts on Computation and Computability theory.  The Wikipedia treatments provide a general sense of the different focuses that have followed from the work of Turing and others.

Turing the Person

About Alan Mathison Turing, there is the work of his biographer, Andrew Hodges, as well as the Turing Digital Archive, where Turing's publications can be found along with unpublished materials and memorabilia.  The Turing paper that is the subject of Petzold's book can also be examined on-line there.

 

 

 
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