In 1945 a small group of brilliant engineers and mathematicians gathered at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, determined to build a computer that would make Alan Turing's theory of a 'universal machine' reality. This bok is the story behind how the PC, ipod, smartphone and almost every aspect of modern life came into being.
George Dyson's fascinating account of the early years of computers- Turing's Cathedral is the story behind how the PC, ipod, smartphone and almost every aspect of modern life came into being. In 1945 a small group of brilliant engineers and mathematicians gathered at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, determined to build a computer that would make Alan Turing's theory of a 'universal machine' reality. Led by the polymath emigre John von Neumann, they created the numerical framework that underpins almost all modern computing - and ensured that the world would never be the same again. George Dyson is a historian of technology whose interests include the development (and redevelopment) of the Aleut kayak. He is the author of Baidarka; Project Orion; and Darwin Among the Machines. 'Unusual, wonderful, visionary' Francis Spufford, Guardian 'Fascinating . . . the story Dyson tells is intensely human . . . a gripping account of ideas and inventionFascinating . . . the story Dyson tells is intensely human . . . a gripping account of ideas and invention' Jenny Uglow 'Glorious . . . as much a story of the personalities involved as of the discoveries they made, and you do not need any knowledge of computers or mathematics to enjoy the ride . . . a ripping yarn' John Gribbin, Literary Review
George Dyson, the son of distinguished physicist Freeman Dyson, grew up immersed in the world of groundbreaking science. His previous books include the acclaimed "Darwin Among the Machines," He and his father are also the subjects of Kenneth Brower's dual biography, "The Starship and the Canoe," Dyson lives in Washington State.
"The best book I've read on the origins of the computer. . . not only learned, but brilliantly and surprisingly idiosyncratic and strange." --"The Boston Globe" "A groundbreaking history . . . the book brims with unexpected detail." --"The New York Times Book Review" "A technical, philosophical and sometimes personal account . . . wide-ranging and lyrical." --"The Economist" "The story of the [von Neumann] computer project and how it begat today's digital universe has been told before, but no one has told it with such precision and narrative sweep." --"The New York Review of Books" "A fascinating combination of the technical and human stories behind the computing breakthroughs of the 1940s and '50s. . . . An important work." --"The Philadelphia Inquirer" "Vivid. . . . [A] detailed yet readable chronicle of the birth of modern computing. . . . Dyson's book is one small step toward reminding us that behind all the touch screens, artificial intelligences and cerebellum implants lies not sorcery but a machine from the middle of New Jersey." --"The Oregonian" "Well-told. . . . Dyson tells his story as a sort of intellectual caper film. He gathers his cast of characters . . . and tracks their journey to Princeton. When they converge, it's great fun, despite postwar food rationing and housing shortages. . . . Dyson is rightly as concerned with the machine's inventors as with the technology itself." --"The Wall Street Journal" "Charming. . . . Creation stories are always worth telling, especially when they center on the birth of world-changing powers. . . . Dyson creatively recounts the curious Faustian bargain that permitted mathematicians to experiment with building more powerful computers, which in turn helped others build more destructive bombs." --"San Francisco Chronicle " "The story of the invention of computers has been told many times, from many different points of vie
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