The Universal History of Computing: From the Abacus to the Quantum Computer

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9780471441472: The Universal History of Computing: From the Abacus to the Quantum Computer
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"A fascinating compendium of information about writing systems–both for words and numbers."
–Publishers Weekly

"A truly enlightening and fascinating study for the mathematically oriented reader."
–Booklist

"Well researched. . . . This book is a rich resource for those involved in researching the history of computers."
–The Mathematics Teacher

In this brilliant follow-up to his landmark international bestseller, The Universal History of Numbers, Georges Ifrah traces the development of computing from the invention of the abacus to the creation of the binary system three centuries ago to the incredible conceptual, scientific, and technical achievements that made the first modern computers possible. Ifrah takes us along as he visits mathematicians, visionaries, philosophers, and scholars from every corner of the world and every period of history. We learn about the births of the pocket calculator, the adding machine, the cash register, and even automata. We find out how the origins of the computer can be found in the European Renaissance, along with how World War II influenced the development of analytical calculation. And we explore such hot topics as numerical codes and the recent discovery of new kinds of number systems, such as "surreal" numbers.

Adventurous and enthralling, The Universal History of Computing is an astonishing achievement that not only unravels the epic tale of computing, but also tells the compelling story of human intelligence–and how much further we still have to go.

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From the I Ching to AI, tremendous human brainpower has been devoted to devising easier means of counting and thinking. Former math teacher Georges Ifrah has devoted his life to tracking down traces of our early calculating tools and reporting on them with charm and verve. The Universal History of Computing: From the Abacus to Quantum Computing gives a grand title to a grand subject, and Ifrah makes good on his promise of universality by leaping far back in time and spanning all of the inhabited continents. If his scope is vast, his stories and details are still engrossing. Readers will hang on to the stories of 19th-century inventors who converged on multiplication machines and other, more general "engines," and better understand the roots of biological and quantum computation. Ifrah has great respect for our ancestors and their work, and he transmits this feeling to his readers with humor and humility. His timelines, diagrams, and concordance help the reader who might be unfamiliar with foreign concepts of numbers and computation keep up with his narrative. By the end, his slight bias against strong artificial intelligence comes through, but he is careful to acknowledge the future's unforeseeable nature and suggest that we keep our minds open. How can we resist? --Rob Lightner

From the Inside Flap:

"Suppose every instrument could by command or by anticipation of need execute its function on its own; suppose that spindles could weave of their own accord, and plectra strike the strings of zithers by themselves; then craftsmen would have no need of hand-work, and masters have no need of slaves." –Aristotle Called the Indiana Jones of arithmetic, Georges Ifrah embarked in 1974 on a ten-year quest to discover where numbers come from and what they say about us. His first book, the highly praised Universal History of Numbers, drew from this remarkable journey, presented the first complete account of the invention and evolution of numbers the world over–and became an international bestseller.

In The Universal History of Computing, Ifrah continues his exhilarating exploration into the fascinating world of numbers. In this fun, engaging but no less learned book, he traces the development of computing from the invention of the abacus to the creation of the binary system three centuries ago to the incredible conceptual, scientific, and technical achievements that made the first modern computers possible. He shows us how various cultures, scientists, and industries across the world struggled to break free of the tedious labor of mental calculation and, as a result, he reveals the evolution of the human mind.

Evoking the excitement and joy that accompanied the grand mathematical undertakings throughout history, Ifrah takes us along as he revisits a multitude of cultures, from Roman times and the Chinese Common Era to twentieth-century England and America. We meet mathematicians, visionaries, philosophers, and scholars from every corner of the world and from every period of history. We witness the dead ends and regressions in the computer’s development, as well as the advances and illuminating discoveries. We learn about the births of the pocket calculator, the adding machine, the cash register, and even automata. We find out how the origins of the computer can be found in the European Renaissance, along with how World War II influenced the development of analytical calculation. And we explore such hot topics as numerical codes and the recent discovery of new kinds of number systems, such as "surreal" numbers.Adventurous and enthralling, The Universal History of Computing is an astonishing achievement that not only unravels the epic tale of computing, but also tells the compelling story of human intelligence–and how much farther we still have to go.

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Book Description Wiley. Paperback. Condition: New. 416 pages. Dimensions: 8.9in. x 6.1in. x 1.3in.A fascinating compendium of information about writing systemsboth for words and numbers. Publishers WeeklyA truly enlightening and fascinating study for the mathematically oriented reader. BooklistWell researched. . . . This book is a rich resource for those involved in researching the history of computers. The Mathematics TeacherIn this brilliant follow-up to his landmark international bestseller, The Universal History of Numbers, Georges Ifrah traces the development of computing from the invention of the abacus to the creation of the binary system three centuries ago to the incredible conceptual, scientific, and technical achievements that made the first modern computers possible. Ifrah takes us along as he visits mathematicians, visionaries, philosophers, and scholars from every corner of the world and every period of history. We learn about the births of the pocket calculator, the adding machine, the cash register, and even automata. We find out how the origins of the computer can be found in the European Renaissance, along with how World War II influenced the development of analytical calculation. And we explore such hot topics as numerical codes and the recent discovery of new kinds of number systems, such as surreal numbers. Adventurous and enthralling, The Universal History of Computing is an astonishing achievement that not only unravels the epic tale of computing, but also tells the compelling story of human intelligenceand how much further we still have to go. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780471441472

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Book Description John Wiley and Sons Ltd, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. The fascinating follow-up to the bestselling The Universal History of Numbers Picking up where his highly acclaimed The Universal History of Numbers left off, Georges Ifrah continues his exhilarating exploration into the world of numbers. The fascinating result, The Universal History of Computing, traces the progress of computing from the revolutionary invention of the abacus to the invention of the binary system three centuries ago and the earliest computer that followed. In this engaging but no less learned read, he covers such hot topics as numerical codes and the recent discovery of new kinds of number systems, such as surreal numbers. Overall, Ifrah shows us how far we have come in learning about number theory, how numbers relate to our everyday lives and how much further we have to go. Seller Inventory # APC9780471441472

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Book Description John Wiley and Sons Ltd, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.The fascinating follow-up to the bestselling The Universal History of Numbers Picking up where his highly acclaimed The Universal History of Numbers left off, Georges Ifrah continues his exhilarating exploration into the world of numbers. The fascinating result, The Universal History of Computing, traces the progress of computing from the revolutionary invention of the abacus to the invention of the binary system three centuries ago and the earliest computer that followed. In this engaging but no less learned read, he covers such hot topics as numerical codes and the recent discovery of new kinds of number systems, such as surreal numbers. Overall, Ifrah shows us how far we have come in learning about number theory, how numbers relate to our everyday lives and how much further we have to go. Seller Inventory # APC9780471441472

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