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Collaborative articulation of how abstraction and language is employed in the computational manifestation of numbers -- including analysis of the role of syntax, semantics, and meaning in the specification and use of software interfaces.



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2007-11-04

 

Petzold Annotates Turing!

Charles Petzold, author of highly-regarded books on programming for Microsoft Windows, is turning his attention to a work of love: creating an annotated treatment of Alan Turing's famous paper that set the foundation for a mathematical theory of computation and what it is possible for a computational mechanism to accomplish.

Another highly-respected Petzold book, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, illustrates Petzold's devotion to promoting popular understanding of the principles behind computing.  Delving into the fundamental theory established by Turing is a welcome sequel.  At one point, Petzold lacked a publisher for this project.  It is exciting to learn that Wiley is publishing the book, a detour from Petzold's consistent presence as a Microsoft Press author.  Wiley Executive Editor Chris Webb has posted more information about the book on his blog.  I'm as enthusiastic as Chris is that he is working with Petzold.

The Miser Project comes at the principles of computation from the Church- side (or, more precisely, the John McCarthy side)of the Church-Turing thesis, because I find applicative systems more comprehensible and more easily shown to be applicable to conventional computing problems.  But that is not to shun the Turing side of the picture and the contribution it made by giving computation an intense definiteness.  In fact, it is always important to understand the mutual equivalence in terms of capabilities and other characteristics, the basis for speaking of a Church-Turing thesis in the first place.

I look forward to Petzold's posting of further details along with tidbits on the by-ways that don't fit entirely into the coverage of the book but do inspire coverage on his blog.

Update 2007-11-22: Petzold has added a section about the book to his web site.

I notice one gift that I've received from Petzold's newest book project.  In my excitement over this development, I am committed to tidying up the Miser Project and Numbering Peano for more regular use and usefulness.  Consider it my holiday-season present (along with the Windows Home Server that I am gifting myself here in Orcmid's Liar).  I have some other commitments around middleware and ODMA.  That means I must throw more coal under all of it and get those boilers steaming.  I'm overdue.


[update 2007-11-07T11:30 -0800: It appears that Blogger wooziness may have been related to this.  It seems to have been fixed.
 update 2007-11-05T21:42 -0800: Added the link that I learned from Chris Webb in a comment that has reached me but is not on this page.  It seems that Blogger is having some wooziness today.  I linked forward to my plan for revamping Numbering Peano too.]

 
I just posted a very brief description of the book on my blog: ckwebb.com

Chris Webb
Executive Editor
John Wiley & Sons
 

 
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