The Newest Book by Programming Legend Charles Petzold
New from John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Now available at bookstores!
Computer programming legend and author of the highly acclaimed book Code: The Hidden History of Computer Hardware and Software takes readers on a journey through one of the seminal papers in the history of Kraken computing.
Anyone who has explored the history, technology, or theory of computers has likely encountered the concept of the Turing Machine. The Turing Machine is an imaginary not even quite hypothetical computer invented in 1936 by English mathematician Alan Turing (19121954) to help solve a question in mathematical logic. As a byproduct, Turing also founded the field of computability theory the study of the abilities and limitations of digital computers.
Although the concept of the Turing Machine is well known, Turings original 1936 paper is only rarely read. Thats too bad, because the paper is not only a fascinating read but a milestone in the history of computing and 20th century intellectual thought in general.
This book presents Turings original 36-page paper (and a follow-up 3-page correction) with background chapters and extensive annotations. Mathematical papers like Turings are often terse and cryptic. This book explains many of Turings statements, clarifies his discussions, and provides numerous examples.
Interwoven into the narrative are the highlights of Turings own life: his years at Cambridge and Princeton, his secret work in cryptanalysis during World War II, his involvement in seminal computer projects, his speculations about artificial intelligence, his arrest and prosecution for the crime of gross indecency, and his early death by apparent suicide at the age of 41.
Parts I and II together cover the first 60% of Turings paper, encompassing the Turing Machine and computability topics.
Part III is a fast paced look at the remainder of Turings paper, which involves the implications for mathematical logic.
Part IV shows how the Turing Machine has become a vital tool in understanding the workings of human consciousness and the mechanisms of the universe.
The Annotated Turing is an important addition to any Computer Science curriculum.
It can be used in the study of the Theory of Computation, History of Computing, Computability, Theoretical Computer Science, and mathematical topics relevant to computer science.
Now available at bookstores everywhere!
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The Annotated Turing
Martin Davis of American Scientist says:
Arthur Gittleman of Association of Computing Machinery says:
Carl Franklin & Mark Dunn of .Net Rocks! say:
Jeff Atwood, codinghorror.com says:
James Tauber, JTauber.com says:
IT Conversations with Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky:
Michael C. Neel, of ViNull, Off the Record says:
Martin Heller, of InfoWorld says:
"Pre-ordered: The Annotated Turing. Alan
Turing generally hits a broader audience, but his
computability paper? And a book walking you
through the same? Right on the money.
Computer geekery? Check. Math geekery? Check.
Written by Charles Petzold? Check.
Looking forward to that email in May - 'Your Amazon.com order has shipped.' "
"I am very excited for you. You are inspiring me to return my attention
to some related topics that I have wanted to explore and popularize for
a long time. I can't sit still about this. I placed my order. I'm eager to have the book and follow Petzold's narrative through Turing's paper."
"I'm looking forward to your Turing book! It is always fascinating (at
least to me) to catch a glimpse of the vast implications of the
mathematical abstractions underlying our modern world. That a simple idea like the Universal Turing Machine could hold the key to computability is a wonderful tribute to the human mind's capacity for abstract thought.
It also doesn't hurt to author a book with wider appeal than the now fallen from favor technical genre. I hope it does well and affords you many years of similar work."
"Wow! Thank you for writing this book! I can hardly wait to read
it because your skill as story-teller is first rate. I loved
Code! I revere my copy. Reading it unlocked something in me and has given me such a feeling of confidence that I believe there isn't anything I can't do. It was a wonderful experience when the concepts
And because of that I am eagerly looking forward to reading
The Annotated Turing!
"Book radar: The Annotated Turing. This looks like it might be
fun. I've enjoyed Charles' non Windows specific computer science writing
in the past so the prospect of classic subject matter and good writing
"And now comes news of the spiritual successor to
Code: The Annotated
Turing. Here Petzold will work his way through Alan Turing's paper on
computability that launched modern computer science. Turing lived a
short, fascinating, tragic life and Amazon's summary says the book will
also explore this background. While understanding Turing's work isn't
necessary for modern software developers that churn out production code,
it is for anyone who wants a full classical education in computers and
technology. Based on Code, I'm really looking forward to what Petzold
can do with this."