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The Universal History of Computing: From the…

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

by Georges Ifrah

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Long and detailed, but no coverage of existing parallel processors (let alone quantum computers), programming languages, or operating systems.
  fpagan | Dec 28, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0471441473, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:51 -0400)

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