Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

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Penguin Books Limited, Mar 1, 2012 - Science - 432 pages

How did computers take over the world? In late 1945, a small group of brilliant engineers and mathematicians gathered at the newly created Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Their ostensible goal was to build a computer which would be instrumental in the US government's race to create a hydrogen bomb. The mathematicians themselves, however, saw their project as the realization of Alan Turing's theoretical 'universal machine.'

In Turing's Cathedral, George Dyson vividly re-creates the intense experimentation, incredible mathematical insight and pure creative genius that led to the dawn of the digital universe, uncovering a wealth of new material to bring a human story of extraordinary men and women and their ideas to life. From the lowliest iPhone app to Google's sprawling metazoan codes, we now live in a world of self-replicating numbers and self-reproducing machines whose origins go back to a 5-kilobyte matrix that still holds clues as to what may lie ahead.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nillacat - www.librarything.com

This is a nicely written social and technical history of the computer project at the Institute for Advanced Study, starting with the founding of the IAS, treating the lives and personalities of the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kaulsu - www.librarything.com

I am positive this is a 5 star book for those with the mathematics and science I lack. I, being more of a social scientist, was interested in the persons involved and the time period in question ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

George Dyson is a historian and philosopher of science, and the author of Baidarka, Project Orion, and Darwin Among the Machines. As the son of the renowned theoretical physicist and mathematician, Freeman Dyson, he grew up among some of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th Century's Atomic Age.

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