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The Pattern On The Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work… (edition 1999)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 046502596X, Paperback)Daniel Hillis has made a career of puzzling over the nature of information and the mechanisms that put information to use. Now, he's distilled his accumulated knowledge of computer science into The Pattern on the Stone, a glorious book that reveals the nature of logical machines simply and elegantly.
Millions of times each second, to the drumbeat of a clock signal, electronic computers compare digital values. These comparisons, and the actions taken in response to them, are what computers are all about at their lowest levels, and, with the help of this book, they're not hard to comprehend. Moving on from the nature of logical circuits, the author deconstructs software and the mechanisms it employs to solve problems.
Hillis then stands atop the building blocks he's arranged into a sturdy foundation and discusses the future of computing. Parallel processors already are in use, and neural networks with limited abilities to learn and adapt have proved quite good at certain jobs. Hillis explores the potential of both these technologies. Then, he throws some light on quantum computing and evolving systems--emerging ideas that promise to make computers much more powerful, and thereby change the world. --David Wall
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:47:47 -0500)
"Daniel Hillis offers an easy-to-follow explanation of how data is processed that makes the operation of a computer seem as straightforward as those of a bicycle." "Hillis proceeds from an outline of basic logic to clear descriptions of programming languages, algorithms and memory. He then takes readers in simple steps up to the most exciting developments in computing today - quantum computing, parallel computing, neural networks, and self-organizing systems."--BOOK JACKET.
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