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The Definitive Guide to How Computers Do Math : Featuring the Virtual DIY Calculator [Paperback]

Clive Maxfield , Alvin Brown
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 27, 2005 0471732788 978-0471732785
The Basics of Computer Arithmetic Made Enjoyable and Accessible-with a Special Program Included for Hands-on Learning

"The combination of this book and its associated virtual computer is fantastic! Experience over the last fifty years has shown me that there's only one way to truly understand how computers work; and that is to learn one computer and its instruction set-no matter how simple or primitive-from the ground up. Once you fully comprehend how that simple computer functions, you can easily extrapolate to more complex machines."
-Fred Hudson, retired engineer/scientist

"This book-along with the virtual DIY Calculator-is an incredibly useful teaching and learning tool. The interesting trivia nuggets keep you turning the pages to see what's next. Students will have so much fun reading the text and performing the labs that they won't even realize they are learning."
-Michael Haghighi, Chairperson of the Business and Computer Information Systems Division, Calhoun Community College, Alabama

"At last, a book that presents an innovative approach to the teaching of computer architecture. Written with authority and verve, witty, superbly illustrated, and enhanced with many laboratory exercises, this book is a must for students and teachers alike."
-Dr. Albert Koelmans, Lecturer in Computer Engineering, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and the 2003 recipient of the EASIT-Eng. Gold Award for Innovative Teaching in Computer Engineering

Packed with nuggets of information and tidbits of trivia, How Computers Do Math provides an incredibly fun and interesting introduction to the way in which computers perform their magic in general and math in particular. The accompanying CD-ROM contains a virtual computer/calculator called the DIY Calculator, and the book's step-by-step interactive laboratories guide you in the creation of a simple program to run on your DIY Calculator.

How Computers Do Math can be enjoyed by non-technical individuals; students of computer science, electronics engineering, and mathematics; and even practicing engineers. All of the illustrations and interactive laboratories featured in the book are provided on the CD-ROM for use by high school, college, and university educators as lecture notes and handouts.

For online resources and more information please visit the author's website at www.DIYCalculator.com.

 


Frequently Bought Together

The Definitive Guide to How Computers Do Math : Featuring the Virtual DIY Calculator + Bebop to the Boolean Boogie, Third Edition: An Unconventional Guide to Electronics + There Are No Electrons: Electronics for Earthlings
Price for all three: $84.55

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

"I found this book to be a lot of fun, and I think many high school teachers and students would enjoy it too." (Mathematics Teacher, September 2006)

"Clive 'Max' Maxfield and Alvin Brown have written a wonderful book…about the essential workings of computers." (The Embedded Muse, February 22, 2006)

"I have not seen a better description of the stack and related concepts. The authors obviously understand that these concepts are usually confusing to novices, and hence they support the material with good and simple examples." (Computing Reviews.com, January 16, 2006)

"It looks like Max has done it again, i.e., written another technical book that reminds us why we studied electronics in the first place--for the sheer fun of it." (Chip Design Magazine, December 2005/January 2006)

"The book is fun, highly informative, and full of vitally important stuff for both the technical and non-technical alike." (EDA Confidential, November 21, 2005)

"Everybody can learn from this lively book but it [is] especially helpful for teachers and engineers who want to share their interest in math and computing machinery with others." (Wireless Net DesignLine Newsletter, November 10, 2005)

"For those interested in a slightly off-beat approach to learning the basics of computer architectures, Maxfield and Brown have put together a multimedia package that's well worth the price of admission." (Electronic Design.com, October 20, 2005)

"The book is perfect for students and those among us who aspire to really understand what is going on in those gismos…the prose is easy to read, and the lab exercises are well designed." (Gabe On EDA.com)

From the Back Cover

The Basics of Computer Arithmetic Made Enjoyable and Accessible—with a Special Program Included for Hands-on Learning

"The combination of this book and its associated virtual computer is fantastic! Experience over the last fifty years has shown me that there's only one way to truly understand how computers work; and that is to learn one computer and its instruction set—no matter how simple or primitive—from the ground up. Once you fully comprehend how that simple computer functions, you can easily extrapolate to more complex machines."
—Fred Hudson, retired engineer/scientist

"This book—along with the virtual DIY Calculator—is an incredibly useful teaching and learning tool. The interesting trivia nuggets keep you turning the pages to see what's next. Students will have so much fun reading the text and performing the labs that they won't even realize they are learning."
—Michael Haghighi, Chairperson of the Business and Computer Information Systems Division, Calhoun Community College, Alabama

"At last, a book that presents an innovative approach to the teaching of computer architecture. Written with authority and verve, witty, superbly illustrated, and enhanced with many laboratory exercises, this book is a must for students and teachers alike."
—Dr. Albert Koelmans, Lecturer in Computer Engineering, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and the 2003 recipient of the EASIT–Eng. Gold Award for Innovative Teaching in Computer Engineering

Packed with nuggets of information and tidbits of trivia, How Computers Do Math provides an incredibly fun and interesting introduction to the way in which computers perform their magic in general and math in particular. The accompanying CD-ROM contains a virtual computer/calculator called the DIY Calculator, and the book's step-by-step interactive laboratories guide you in the creation of a simple program to run on your DIY Calculator.

How Computers Do Math can be enjoyed by non-technical individuals; students of computer science, electronics engineering, and mathematics; and even practicing engineers. All of the illustrations and interactive laboratories featured in the book are provided on the CD-ROM for use by high school, college, and university educators as lecture notes and handouts.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Interscience (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471732788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471732785
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi there, my name is Clive Maxfield, but everyone calls me "Max" (the name of every dog and every robot in every science fiction film ever made). This is sort of a family nickname; my dad, aunt, little 'bro, and so forth are all called "Max" (this can lead to somewhat convoluted after-dinner conversations).

When I was younger, I was interested in both Art and Engineering; at one stage I was seriously contemplating going to art school, but my mom told me that very few artists made much money, so I became an engineer specializing in electronics and computers. And then, while I wasn't looking, I accidentally became a writer. Don't ask me how; it started with a single magazine article, and ended up with seven books and writing as a full-time job (in the day) and as a hobby (in the evenings).

My current passion (apart from my wife, of course) is my recently published book "How Computers Do Math" (which I co-authored with my friend, Alvin Brown). This little scamp is accompanied by a CD-ROM containing a virtual computer/calculator called the DIY Calculator. The book walks the reader through a series of step-by-step interactive laboratories, that end up with the creation of a simple four-function (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) calculator program (written in our simple assembly language) that makes the DIY Calculator ... well, calculate (you can read more on our website at www.DIYCalculator.com).

Last but not least, my idea of a good time is having a BBQ and hanging out with family and friends.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Fun intro to Computers February 27, 2006
Format:Paperback
The book is aimed at people starting out in computers; we experts know this stuff cold. But an interested 15 year old could get truly in-depth insight into the mysteries of computing from this volume.

It's a very readable book laid out with easy-on-the-eyes formatting and a plethora of clear illustrations. The illustration of a LIFO stack just booms clarity. Chapters start with relevant and often amusing quotes; one of my favorites is Lewis Carroll's "The four branches of arithmetic: ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision."

Quickly page through the book and you'll be puzzled by its organization. The first 55 pages (out of 450) comprise its ostensible meat. The rest are labs for each chapter, a series of problems the authors pose to illustrate important concepts. They nudge you through the solutions - there are no proofs left to the confused student.

The labs are very well-written accessible activities in which the authors take the reader along hand-in-hand. They're a bit insidious: work through them and the reader will become a reasonably competent assembly-language programmer, without realizing he's learning one of the more difficult aspects of programming. There's a perverse genius in covertly slipping assembly language into one's head without pain.

The authors' sure hands guide one along each lab, with descriptions and demonstrations till the code that's required is almost anticlimactic: "of *course* it must be like this!"

But how is one to do a lab? You need a computer, right? Well, sure, but the authors provide a DIY Calculator on CD, an interactive and sophisticated bit of code that runs on a PC. It sports the usual display and math functions, plus its own low-level programming language. And, it's extensible.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just great material for educators February 24, 2007
Format:Paperback
I'm a university Professor in France and one of my courses is on 8-bit microcontroller programming.

In the past I used to use the 68HC05 as an example but for students who are not familiar with reading datasheets the investment in time was just huge. Although good and free simulators exist, these were hard for the students to find and install.

This book changed my student's life and considerably eased my life. The proposed microprocessor has all the features of a real one without the useless complexity drawbacks and heavy documentation. Students better like it than 68HC05 and there are plenty of examples that they can play with. A collection of slides for educators even avoids to have to compose your ones.

I highly recommend this as standard material for teaching microprocessor programming.

David Naccache
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Max" Maxfield has a very original style that does away with "you already know this" and goes to "let's go there together AND have a lot of fun doing it". This is a MATH book, dealing in how computers do math, and adds the dimension of learning by doing, by adding a "virtual" calculator you program to do the math. It may be helpful to know some programming and some digital logic, but "Bebop to the Boolean Boogie", also by "Max", gets you there. You go from the DIY "virtual" calculator (residing on your computer) that does NOTHING, and you, with Clive and Alvin as your guides, make it do basic math. Even us "old" engineers can have a kick start to the memories of how we used to do things, and may still be doing them today. Added bonus: It is not a dry text book approach. You will have fun doing it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST COMPUTER BOOK WRITEN !! December 28, 2006
Format:Paperback
I've been fighting for 3 years to learn assembly programing , this book makes it look like baking a cake . Once you start reading this book and programing ,you'll have a hard time thinking of anything else !! Max is a very nice person who takes time out of his busy day to answer questions from normal people.(and he'll usally throw in a little humor too.) A+++++

Brian , future computer programer
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book! July 15, 2006
Format:Paperback
Not only that it explains how a microprocessor works, you get a complete package with assembler and simulator and can start off immediately. The book is written such that the novice reader can easily and fully take on the knowledge about (low level) computer programming. Additionally there are lots of anecdotes that make you smirk or give additional background information.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WhoooHooo August 11, 2006
Format:Paperback
Finally, a fun to read treatise for the those of us on the outside looking in on the digital electronic mysteries. Clive mischievouly pulls back the curtain of the Wizard of Calculating OZ and shows us what is going on inside our computer. And, best of all, for us electronic gadgeteer wanabees, there is a path provided for building our very own calculator!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book February 19, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a pity that one can give only 5 stars! This book deserves more!
I have always been intrigued by the inner workings of a computer or calculator.
Even tried to study some assembly, but never succeeded to fully comprehend it.
The front cover may suggest it is going to be nothing than fun, like in some 'for dummies' books. (Although these books have there use.)
No, this is serious business here, but explained in a not overdone fun style, and explained in such a way even I can finally understand the subject.
It also contains many practical labs(with the DIY calculator) which enhance your knowledge in no time.
This is a great book to have!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but kind of boring after reading my other books
Great book if you want to learn about computer and computer programming, it lets you understand how things work and how you can do this stuff yourself
Published 12 months ago by Aspiring Designer & Artist in CA
5.0 out of 5 stars Really informative book
This is a great book for those who want a better understanding of how computers work. Use this in conjunction with other computer science books to get a comprehensive... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Tom
5.0 out of 5 stars For high school
Bought to help me teach my computer class math and how it has to do with computers. I hope it helps rais math grades
Published 18 months ago by D. Haghighat
5.0 out of 5 stars Disruptively good
I got this for my 13-year-old niece. She brought it to school and the other kids were fighting over who got to read it - while someone was giving a class presentation. Read more
Published on February 6, 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent View into How Computer Really Do Math
The Definitive Guide to How Computers Do Math : Featuring the Virtual DIY Calculator provides an excellent view into how computers _really_ perform math. Read more
Published on February 11, 2009 by FPGA
4.0 out of 5 stars Go Figure
This is an accurate, first-order of detail on how computers work. The CD is a nice bonus. I would recommend this text for high schoolers and above.
Published on July 19, 2007 by CCD Teacher
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again Cive does it!
I am a hobbyist and have found this book invaluable. I have a Computer Science background and so have no problems with the concepts. Read more
Published on March 24, 2007 by Kathryn L. Tate
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