HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing (MIT Press)

by Martin Erwig

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
971284,951 (4)1
How Hansel and Gretel, Sherlock Holmes, the movie Groundhog Day, Harry Potter, and other familiar stories illustrate the concepts of computing. Picture a computer scientist, staring at a screen and clicking away frantically on a keyboard, hacking into a system, or perhaps developing an app. Now delete that picture. In Once Upon an Algorithm, Martin Erwig explains computation as something that takes place beyond electronic computers, and computer science as the study of systematic problem solving. Erwig points out that many daily activities involve problem solving. Getting up in the morning, for example: You get up, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast. This simple daily routine solves a recurring problem through a series of well-defined steps. In computer science, such a routine is called an algorithm. Erwig illustrates a series of concepts in computing with examples from daily life and familiar stories. Hansel and Gretel, for example, execute an algorithm to get home from the forest. The movie Groundhog Day illustrates the problem of unsolvability; Sherlock Holmes manipulates data structures when solving a crime; the magic in Harry Potter's world is understood through types and abstraction; and Indiana Jones demonstrates the complexity of searching. Along the way, Erwig also discusses representations and different ways to organize data; "intractable" problems; language, syntax, and ambiguity; control structures, loops, and the halting problem; different forms of recursion; and rules for finding errors in algorithms. This engaging book explains computation accessibly and shows its relevance to daily life. Something to think about next time we execute the algorithm of getting up in the morning.… (more)
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

The book is laid out systematically into Algorithms and Languages. It follows a storytelling way of explaining important concepts in Computer Science.

Part One covers -- Algorithms: Where you'll take a tour of Computation, Data-Structure, Problem Solving.

Part Two covers -- Languages where you'll start with the structure of languages and end with Types and Abstraction.

I like how the author defined Computation. Computation works by transformation representations.
Representation is the basis for Computation. I liked how the author quoted Wittgenstein, Frege in talking about languages. I've read their works and got excited as I saw their names.

Overall, an excellent book.

Deus Vult,
Gottfried ( )
  gottfried_leibniz | Oct 4, 2019 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

How Hansel and Gretel, Sherlock Holmes, the movie Groundhog Day, Harry Potter, and other familiar stories illustrate the concepts of computing. Picture a computer scientist, staring at a screen and clicking away frantically on a keyboard, hacking into a system, or perhaps developing an app. Now delete that picture. In Once Upon an Algorithm, Martin Erwig explains computation as something that takes place beyond electronic computers, and computer science as the study of systematic problem solving. Erwig points out that many daily activities involve problem solving. Getting up in the morning, for example: You get up, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast. This simple daily routine solves a recurring problem through a series of well-defined steps. In computer science, such a routine is called an algorithm. Erwig illustrates a series of concepts in computing with examples from daily life and familiar stories. Hansel and Gretel, for example, execute an algorithm to get home from the forest. The movie Groundhog Day illustrates the problem of unsolvability; Sherlock Holmes manipulates data structures when solving a crime; the magic in Harry Potter's world is understood through types and abstraction; and Indiana Jones demonstrates the complexity of searching. Along the way, Erwig also discusses representations and different ways to organize data; "intractable" problems; language, syntax, and ambiguity; control structures, loops, and the halting problem; different forms of recursion; and rules for finding errors in algorithms. This engaging book explains computation accessibly and shows its relevance to daily life. Something to think about next time we execute the algorithm of getting up in the morning.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
$27.95
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3
3.5
4 3
4.5
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 208,803,073 books! | Top bar: Always visible