Michael Sean Mahoney Histories of Computing

ISBN 13: 9780674055681

Histories of Computing

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9780674055681: Histories of Computing

Computer technology is pervasive in the modern world, its role ever more important as it becomes embedded in a myriad of physical systems and disciplinary ways of thinking. The late Michael Sean Mahoney was a pioneer scholar of the history of computing, one of the first established historians of science to take seriously the challenges and opportunities posed by information technology to our understanding of the twentieth century.

Mahoney’s work ranged widely, from logic and the theory of computation to the development of software and applications as craft-work. But it was always informed by a unique perspective derived from his distinguished work on the history of medieval mathematics and experimental practice during the Scientific Revolution. His writings offered a new angle on very recent events and ideas and bridged the gaps between academic historians and computer scientists. Indeed, he came to believe that the field was irreducibly pluralistic and that there could be only histories of computing.

In this collection, Thomas Haigh presents thirteen of Mahoney’s essays and papers organized across three categories: historiography, software engineering, and theoretical computer science. His introduction surveys Mahoney’s work to trace the development of key themes, illuminate connections among different areas of his research, and put his contributions into context. The volume also includes an essay on Mahoney by his former students Jed Z. Buchwald and D. Graham Burnett. The result is a landmark work, of interest to computer professionals as well as historians of technology and science.

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About the Author:

Michael Sean Mahoney was Professor of History and History of Science at Princeton University. Thomas Haigh is Associate Professor of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee and chair of the SIGCIS group for historians of computing.

Review:

For historians both amateur and professional alike, Histories of Computing is an essential volume. For the general reader, it represents a superb example of the ways in which a historical perspective can inform our understanding of even the most contemporary of topics.
--Nathan Ensmenger (Science, 9 September 2011)
Thomas Haigh has completed a wonderful edited collection, drawing together Mahoney's published papers on historiography, software engineering, and theoretical computer science.
--Jon Agar (Isis, 104.4, 2013)

...a meticulously researched account of how a small group of theorists brought together ideas from mathematics, information theory, and linguistics to create a new discipline.
--Janet Abbate (Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 43.1, 2013)

The late Michael Mahoney, professor of history at Princeton University, was held in high esteem by historians of computers and other information technologies for effectively setting the agenda for this new subfield of history. He had much to teach historians of business, technology, and science, too.
....
This volume is more than a welcome addition to the historical literature of computer history; rather, it borders on being a seminal work in the history of technology and science.
--James W. Cortada (Business History Review)

Trained as a historian of early modern science and mathematics, Mahoney, who died in 2008, turned his attention in the 1980s to the computer, and his writings have since been highly influential in shaping the emerging discipline of the history of computing. This volume, edited by Thomas Haigh, collects the most important of his essays, talks and articles on this subject and includes a useful and insightful introduction by Haigh as well as an appreciation of Mahoney's life and work by two of his former colleagues.
--Mark Priestley (British Journal of the History of Science, 45.4, 2012)

Michael Sean Mahoney was first and foremost a historian of science and technology. He came to the history, or as he preferred to say, histories of computing from a thorough background in the development of early modern science and mathematics and of modern technology. More recently he achieved a command of computer science that enabled him to present it as growing out of aspects of the work, on the one hand, of Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens, and René Descartes and, on the other, of Henry Ford. (Charles Coulston Gillispie, author of Essays and Reviews in History and History of Science)

Even while its cultural influence spreads and develops, the computer remains a challenging enigma. It is one thing and many, a metamorphic instrument of continually growing abilities advancing on our own. We face this challenge in an historical and historiographical poverty that makes us reluctant if not unable to notice the clues leading to the questions we need to ask. In the humanities, mainly ignorant of what computing is, and so unable to say what it is for beyond clever servitude, we are largely stuck implementing deliverables and reiterating frustrations half a century old. In the essays collected here Mahoney's learned, brilliantly insightful and determined pacing at the edge of the jungle (as he put it) is paradoxically the beginning of our exodus. (Willard McCarty, King's College London)

This collection of seminal essays of historian Mike Mahoney, with commentary by Thomas Haigh, rewards the reader with a superbly organized panorama of the history of modern computing, its intellectual roots, and its place in the history of technology. (Charles E. Stenard, Ph.D. (ret. Bell Labs))

Mahoney understood computer history's significance, and his writings on the subject are important. (William Baer Library Journal 2011-06-15)

Newcomers to Mahoney will find great value in this collection. (M. Mounts Choice 2011-12-01)

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2011. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Computer technology is pervasive in the modern world, its role ever more important as it becomes embedded in a myriad of physical systems and disciplinary ways of thinking. The late Michael Sean Mahoney was a pioneer scholar of the history of computing, one of the first established historians of science to take seriously the challenges and opportunities posed by information technology to our understanding of the twentieth century. Mahoney s work ranged widely, from logic and the theory of computation to the development of software and applications as craft-work. But it was always informed by a unique perspective derived from his distinguished work on the history of medieval mathematics and experimental practice during the Scientific Revolution. His writings offered a new angle on very recent events and ideas and bridged the gaps between academic historians and computer scientists. Indeed, he came to believe that the field was irreducibly pluralistic and that there could be only histories of computing. In this collection, Thomas Haigh presents thirteen of Mahoney s essays and papers organized across three categories: historiography, software engineering, and theoretical computer science. His introduction surveys Mahoney s work to trace the development of key themes, illuminate connections among different areas of his research, and put his contributions into context. The volume also includes an essay on Mahoney by his former students Jed Z. Buchwald and D. Graham Burnett. The result is a landmark work, of interest to computer professionals as well as historians of technology and science. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780674055681

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