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The New Turing Omnibus: 66 Excursions In Computer Science

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No other volume provides as broad, as thorough, or as accessible an introduction to the realm of computers as A. K. Dewdney's The Turing Omnibus. Updated and expanded, The Turing Omnibus offers 66 concise, brilliantly written articles on the major points of interest in computer science theory, technology, and applications. New for this tour: updated information on algorithms, det No other volume provides as broad, as thorough, or as accessible an introduction to the realm of computers as A. K. Dewdney's The Turing Omnibus. Updated and expanded, The Turing Omnibus offers 66 concise, brilliantly written articles on the major points of interest in computer science theory, technology, and applications. New for this tour: updated information on algorithms, detecting primes, noncomputable functions, and self-replicating computers--plus completely new sections on the Mandelbrot set, genetic algorithms, the Newton-Raphson Method, neural networks that learn, DOS systems for personal computers, and computer viruses. Contents: 1 Algorithms 2 Finite Automata 3 Systems of Logic 4 Simulation 5 Godel's Theorem 6 Game Trees 7 The Chomsky Hierarchy 8 Random Numbers 9 Mathematical Research 10 Program Correctness 11 Search Trees 12 Error-Corecting Codes 13 Boolean Logic 14 Regular Languages 15 Time and Space Complexity 16 Genetic Algorithms 17 The Random Access Machine 18 Spline Curves 19 Computer Vision 20 Karnaugh Maps 21 The Newton-Raphson Method 22 Minimum Spanning Trees 23 Generative Grammars 24 Recursion 25 Fast Multiplication 26 Nondeterminism 27 Perceptrons 28 Encoders and Multiplexers 29 CAT Scanning 30 The Partition Problem 31 Turing Machines 32 The Fast Fourier Transform 33 Analog Computing 34 Satisfiability 35 Sequential Sorting 36 Neural Networks That Learn 37 Public Key Cryptography 38 Sequential Cirucits 39 Noncomputerable Functions 40 Heaps and Merges 41 NP-Completeness 42 Number Systems for Computing 43 Storage by Hashing 44 Cellular Automata 45 Cook's Theorem 46 Self-Replicating Computers 47 Storing Images 48 The SCRAM 49 Shannon's Theory 50 Detecting Primes 51 Universal Turing Machines 52 Text Compression 53 Disk Operating Systems 54 NP-Complete Problems 55 Iteration and Recursion 56 VLSI Computers 57 Linear Programming 58 Predicate Calculus 59 The Halting Problem 60 Computer Viruses 61 Searching Strings 62 Parallel Computing 63 The Word Problem 64 Logic Programming 65 Relational Data Bases 66 Church's Thesis


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No other volume provides as broad, as thorough, or as accessible an introduction to the realm of computers as A. K. Dewdney's The Turing Omnibus. Updated and expanded, The Turing Omnibus offers 66 concise, brilliantly written articles on the major points of interest in computer science theory, technology, and applications. New for this tour: updated information on algorithms, det No other volume provides as broad, as thorough, or as accessible an introduction to the realm of computers as A. K. Dewdney's The Turing Omnibus. Updated and expanded, The Turing Omnibus offers 66 concise, brilliantly written articles on the major points of interest in computer science theory, technology, and applications. New for this tour: updated information on algorithms, detecting primes, noncomputable functions, and self-replicating computers--plus completely new sections on the Mandelbrot set, genetic algorithms, the Newton-Raphson Method, neural networks that learn, DOS systems for personal computers, and computer viruses. Contents: 1 Algorithms 2 Finite Automata 3 Systems of Logic 4 Simulation 5 Godel's Theorem 6 Game Trees 7 The Chomsky Hierarchy 8 Random Numbers 9 Mathematical Research 10 Program Correctness 11 Search Trees 12 Error-Corecting Codes 13 Boolean Logic 14 Regular Languages 15 Time and Space Complexity 16 Genetic Algorithms 17 The Random Access Machine 18 Spline Curves 19 Computer Vision 20 Karnaugh Maps 21 The Newton-Raphson Method 22 Minimum Spanning Trees 23 Generative Grammars 24 Recursion 25 Fast Multiplication 26 Nondeterminism 27 Perceptrons 28 Encoders and Multiplexers 29 CAT Scanning 30 The Partition Problem 31 Turing Machines 32 The Fast Fourier Transform 33 Analog Computing 34 Satisfiability 35 Sequential Sorting 36 Neural Networks That Learn 37 Public Key Cryptography 38 Sequential Cirucits 39 Noncomputerable Functions 40 Heaps and Merges 41 NP-Completeness 42 Number Systems for Computing 43 Storage by Hashing 44 Cellular Automata 45 Cook's Theorem 46 Self-Replicating Computers 47 Storing Images 48 The SCRAM 49 Shannon's Theory 50 Detecting Primes 51 Universal Turing Machines 52 Text Compression 53 Disk Operating Systems 54 NP-Complete Problems 55 Iteration and Recursion 56 VLSI Computers 57 Linear Programming 58 Predicate Calculus 59 The Halting Problem 60 Computer Viruses 61 Searching Strings 62 Parallel Computing 63 The Word Problem 64 Logic Programming 65 Relational Data Bases 66 Church's Thesis

30 review for The New Turing Omnibus: 66 Excursions In Computer Science

  1. 5 out of 5

    James Anderson

    First chapter: very simple introduction to algorithms by way of a recipe for enchiladas Second chapter: finite automata, languages, and regular expressions, all introduced within 5 pages. I tried to keep up, but no matter how many times I re-read the chapter or looked up all the terms online, I couldn't wrap my head around what Dewdney was trying to say about languages. This really deserved more time, if this was truly written for a beginner. Third chapter: systems of boole First chapter: very simple introduction to algorithms by way of a recipe for enchiladas Second chapter: finite automata, languages, and regular expressions, all introduced within 5 pages. I tried to keep up, but no matter how many times I re-read the chapter or looked up all the terms online, I couldn't wrap my head around what Dewdney was trying to say about languages. This really deserved more time, if this was truly written for a beginner. Third chapter: systems of boolean logic. I have plenty of experience with boolean logic and logic gates, so I got through to the "complete bases diagram" before stopping in my tracks. I ended up grasping the whole chapter and completing the exercises thanks to my prior experience. But that's as far as I could get in the book. From what I hear, it's an excellent review of CS topics, but it's not a suitable introduction to these topics due to the very small coverage given to each. I'm fairly literate in basic theoretical computing concepts, but for something to be billed as an introductory work, it needs to offer much more guidance. It's not clear what level of experience one should have before attempting to work through this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tito

    This book was a tremendous disappointment. It's table of contents covered a lot of topics that interest me, but it is horribly written. It had the odor of a 6th grader's 5-paragraph paper plagiarizing an encyclopedia to cover the rise and fall of the British empire. I was hoping this would be a nice refresher/reminder of some of my computer science coursework. Instead, I was just frustrated. Each chapter comes off more as an advertisement for other books (where each chapter's "test" q This book was a tremendous disappointment. It's table of contents covered a lot of topics that interest me, but it is horribly written. It had the odor of a 6th grader's 5-paragraph paper plagiarizing an encyclopedia to cover the rise and fall of the British empire. I was hoping this would be a nice refresher/reminder of some of my computer science coursework. Instead, I was just frustrated. Each chapter comes off more as an advertisement for other books (where each chapter's "test" questions apparently are taken from). The pattern seemed to be: 1. horribly basic intro: a "black box" is something where we can't know what happens on the inside 2. short-shrift coverage of a basic definition. 3. crazy leap to the end that the supposed "general" audience would have any hope of knowing. This book would have been much better if it covered a smaller number of topics, taking the time to explain & develop them. Don't bother with this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I guess it's not for everybody. I like the idea of this book very much. The execution is alright, although I will admit that there are a few chapters that I don't like much. But overall it's a fascinating sample platter of pieces of what we call "Computer Science" and it's all in one place. I especially like his introduction to (theoretical) electronics and the computer he designs from scratch. There are a few mistakes in the drawings and micro programs, but overall it's a neat design and you ca I guess it's not for everybody. I like the idea of this book very much. The execution is alright, although I will admit that there are a few chapters that I don't like much. But overall it's a fascinating sample platter of pieces of what we call "Computer Science" and it's all in one place. I especially like his introduction to (theoretical) electronics and the computer he designs from scratch. There are a few mistakes in the drawings and micro programs, but overall it's a neat design and you can actually cover it in a single lecture with your students. I wish Dewdney would prepare a new edition that fixes the bugs, removes the sad topics nobody wants, and reworks the rest to be even more friendly to the reader. Then we'd have a nice one for a broad "Intro to CS" course.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David

    Took me a good month to get through this one. Lots of bite-sized topics in CS theory. Not many that I haven't encountered before, but it was fun to dust off some college memories (Karnaugh maps, NFA->DFA conversions, NP proofs, etc.) Many topics (such as the details behind the undecidability proof behind Kolmogoroff complexity) had me spending hours finding supporting information on wikipedia and the like. This book could certainly benefit from a new edition that better motivates s Took me a good month to get through this one. Lots of bite-sized topics in CS theory. Not many that I haven't encountered before, but it was fun to dust off some college memories (Karnaugh maps, NFA->DFA conversions, NP proofs, etc.) Many topics (such as the details behind the undecidability proof behind Kolmogoroff complexity) had me spending hours finding supporting information on wikipedia and the like. This book could certainly benefit from a new edition that better motivates some of the discussions (e.g. FFTs), and replaces some of the examples that are showing their age (Quad trees, Perceptrons, etc.).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Arvydas Sidorenko

    Very theoretical material containing mostly theory of computation, algorithm analysis and such. I think it is a must read if you are going for theoretical computer science. Being mathematically literate is a prerequisite.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lino

    I own this book for over half a decade. I've tried to read it about 4 or 5 times. I think page 100 is as far as I'm ever gonna get. It's an enticing concept to explore a bunch of computer science topics on a single book. Most of us stop thinking about those as soon as the 4 years or so of college are over. Or maybe a bit later when the first paycheck arrives. Still, feels good revisiting those things that gave me so much trouble back then - and some still do. We get about 5 I own this book for over half a decade. I've tried to read it about 4 or 5 times. I think page 100 is as far as I'm ever gonna get. It's an enticing concept to explore a bunch of computer science topics on a single book. Most of us stop thinking about those as soon as the 4 years or so of college are over. Or maybe a bit later when the first paycheck arrives. Still, feels good revisiting those things that gave me so much trouble back then - and some still do. We get about 5 pages per topic and of course that can't be enough to fully explore each one. For a lot of those it's not even enough to explain the basics. I think that aiming for this naturally resulted in either tedious or incomplete chapters. Other approaches could be more entertaining or even informative. How about assuming prior knowledge - it's a CS book for CS graduates anyway - and instead of trying to explain things just tell some anecdotes, some of the back story that never gets much focus? Or zooming into one peculiar application? I would enjoy reading that. Of course that's just the opinion of a failed reader of this book. I know some very smart people who loved it. It may be that this is just not for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Saketh Kasibatla

    Great coffee table book. Explains crucial concepts in computer science like decidability and logic in language arts smart high schooler could understand

  8. 4 out of 5

    Will

    This is a very good introduction to computer science. Each excursion is a problem or a subject area within computer science. Each one is presented in such a way that the reader is encouraged to have a go themselves, and the questions that accompany each excursion often involve writing small computer programs to explore the ideas involved. After reading this you will have a good idea of both the breadth and depth of computer science, and you will know which areas interest you and which This is a very good introduction to computer science. Each excursion is a problem or a subject area within computer science. Each one is presented in such a way that the reader is encouraged to have a go themselves, and the questions that accompany each excursion often involve writing small computer programs to explore the ideas involved. After reading this you will have a good idea of both the breadth and depth of computer science, and you will know which areas interest you and which do not. Good to read just before starting an undergraduate degree (and a good "light read" during).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vilém Zouhar

    I'm not exaggerating when I say that this book really is exhausting. It has definitely something to do with the format. The book consists of disparate chapters and after finishing one, the next title immediately gets your attention and you have to go on despite your tiredness. I've been looking forward to read this book for already some time. I smiled when at last the order was shipped across the Atlantic ocean all the way from USA to Czech Republic. It is hard to get through, but it's wort I'm not exaggerating when I say that this book really is exhausting. It has definitely something to do with the format. The book consists of disparate chapters and after finishing one, the next title immediately gets your attention and you have to go on despite your tiredness. I've been looking forward to read this book for already some time. I smiled when at last the order was shipped across the Atlantic ocean all the way from USA to Czech Republic. It is hard to get through, but it's worth it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Luc

    I received this book as a Christmas gift after reading a review by Jeff Atwood. I was surprised when I found it disorganized and turgid, but I trudged along thinking, "If Atwood liked it, it must be good." Silly me. It turns out Atwood does not read the books that he reviews. I made it halfway through before I decided enough was enough. There is only so much time in the world, and there are much more enjoyable books out there.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tom Emerson

    The concept of this book is a good one, and I think the author makes a strong attempt at producing his vision. Unfortunately the result does not live up to expectations. Contrary to his intent, many of the chapters do not stand alone, and someone not already familiar with the material may have difficulty working through the exercises.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Monkey Man

    I didn't finish the book. By page 100 I was tired. The topics are shallow and generally disconnected. After two to four pages on a topic, the bus drives somewhere else entirely. This constant skipping makes for a tiring read. There's no reward in the end, no new insight is offered.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joao Trindade

    It's a nice review for the things you already know. For the rest, it does not do a great job in explaining them!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    collection - essays about CS

  15. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Bite-sized (byte-sized?) computer science. I was familiar with some chapters and not with many more. This was a great way for me to be introduced to big ideas worth further study.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve Gross

    not at all user friendly as it could have been

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Gair

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marketa

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Nathan Feniello

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ricky

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abhishek Gahlot

  22. 4 out of 5

    Muhammet Orazov

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Clark

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrei Barbu

  25. 4 out of 5

    Franz

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Pena

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rahul Shrestha

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christian

  29. 5 out of 5

    Oluwoletosin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Madars

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