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Computer Science Reconsidered: The Invocation Model of Process Expression Hardcover – June 29, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0471798149 ISBN-10: 0471798142 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Interscience; 1 edition (June 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471798142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471798149
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,134,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I strongly recommend the book for computer systems and scientific applications in specialist teaching disciplines, as well as practical and industrial-based or research-driven enhancement and management-science sectors." (Computing Reviews, January 30, 2009)

"…Fant's work is certainly thought-provoking and should be of great interest to those concerned with theoretical computer science." (British Computer Society Book Reviews)

"Karl Fant has written a very compelling book that should be read by academicians and practitioners alike." (Ubiquity, August 28, 2007)

From the Back Cover

A groundbreaking, seminal work that challenges the theoretical foundations of computer science

This seminal work will challenge and change your understanding of computers and computing. Since the invention of the computer, it has been accepted with little question that the theoretical foundations of computer science are found in mathematics. The difficulties of computer science have been attributed to the inherent complexity of computation, which can only be overcome with disciplined methodology.

The author of this text presents a convincing and carefully structured argument that shows why linking computer science to mathematics results in unnecessary complexity and confusion. Instead, the author sets forth and demonstrates the viability and practicality of a new conceptual model, the invocation model of process expression. This model links the design and function of computer systems with the design and function of biological systems. Moreover, the author shows how changing your underlying assumptions sheds new light on dealing with such complex issues as concurrency, digital computers, and biological cells.

The chapters of this text are organized under three main topics:

  • The Problem: Why the underlying theory of contemporary computer science is not helpful

  • The Solution: How the invocation model of process expression solves many problems of contemporary computer science

  • The Invocation Language: How the invocation model is embodied in symbol string expression

For computer scientists and engineers, this publication opens up a completely new way of understanding what computers are, how they work, and what they can do. For students of computer science, it offers an alternative theory that helps them understand and overcome some of the limitations imposed by current theory.


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Duncan on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've known the author of "Computer Science Reconsidered" for almost thirty years, so while I'll try to be objective, expect some personal bias as well as some disagreements with Karl. Traditional computer science places the sequential algorithm and Boolean logic at the heart of computer science. Karl takes a much wider view. He sees computer science as the theory of "process expression" - for instance, given the process of adding a million numbers, how is this process physically accomplished(physically expressed) and symbolically represented(symbolically expressed)? In general, this will be done most efficiently concurrently, and not necessarily by specifying an algorithm, but perhaps by using some clockless physical system that is smart enough to 'resolve' the problem in some partially specified, automatic manner. Karl's book takes clockless concurrent process to be fundamental(as it is in nature). He describes very primitive processes in a new and idiosyncratic language that may be off-putting to some readers, but in truly concurrent processes, notions like 'state' and 'register' are far too narrow and completely inappropriate, so much traditional process language must be abandoned. It seems obvious to me that Karl is on the right track - his approach seems radical until one starts to be embarrased at the primitive, unnatural state of today's computer science, where timing circuits must still be designed (yet nature doesn't do this), and all process details must still be specified (nature doesn't do this). Besides, the foundation of today's c.s. is about Turing Machines and the question, "Is a given process possible," when pragmatically c.s almost always instead asks, "How is a given process best done?" Every revolution takes place in a context.Read more ›
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