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The Essential Turing: Seminal Writings in Computing, Logic, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Life plus The Secrets of Enigma 1st Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198250807
ISBN-10: 0198250800
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"A sophisticated, compelling, and philosophically competent account of the role that Turing has played in the information revolution. No bibliography on the foundations of computing is complete without The Essential Turing. This attractive package offers an essential text for any scholar of the history, philosophy, or future of computing, and an excellent textbook for every academic program concerned with philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, or artificial life. Copeland's commentary and effortless writing turn reading the works of the father of the digital age into a pleasure, making The Essential Turing an accessible bestseller in popular science."--Ammon H. Eden, Minds & Machines


"Alan Turing, pioneer of computing and World War II code breaker, was one of the most important and influential thinkers of the twentieth century. In this book, Turing's work... is made easily accessible for the first time...This volume contains the work of a genius who, in his all too short life, made significant contributions in important areas benefiting us today. -- Cryptologia Reviews


"In this book, Turing's key writings...are made easily accessible for the first time. Lectures, scientific papers, top secret wartime material, correspondence, and broadcasts are introduced and set in context by Jack Copeland, Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing." --The American Cryptogram Association


"It is a book that belongs in your personal library to read at your leisure. It would be a welcome gift."--Cryptologia


"A sophisticated, compelling, and philosophically competent account of the role that Turing has played in the information revolution. No bibliography on the foundations of computing is complete without The Essential Turing. This attractive package offers an essential text for any scholar of the history, philosophy, or future of computing, and an excellent textbook for every academic program concerned with philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, or artificial life. Copeland's commentary and effortless writing turn reading the works of the father of the digital age into a pleasure, making The Essential Turing an accessible bestseller in popular science."--Ammon H. Eden, Minds & Machines


"Both the editorial commentaries and Turing's own writings are engrossing reading."--The Review of Modern Logic


About the Author


B. J. Copeland is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 622 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (November 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198250800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198250807
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.5 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A long overdue book. Copeland collects together Turing's greatest papers. As in where Turing tackled the fundamentals of what is now called a Turing machine - ie. a universal computer. Plus other papers where Turing ruminated on artificial intelligence, and founded that field. Plus coming up with the Turing Test for AI.

Turing's papers are interleaved with chapters by Copeland that give extra context to the times in which Turing lived. Notably on Turing's crucial contribution to the Enigma project at Bletchley Park during World War 2. It is no exaggeration to say that his insight into decoding the German encryptions saved the lives of thousands of Allied soldiers.

Valuable also is a reprinting of Turing's "Treatise on the Enigma", which was only declassified in 1996. Though by then, its essence had been known for decades. Finally, the book lets you read Turing's words on Enigma.
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Format: Paperback
Copeland's "Essential Turing" reviews Turning's major writings and is a valuable source of knowledge for computer scientists and avid CS/Mathematics readers alike. Turing was a brilliant British mathematician, logician, and cryptographer and is widely considered to be the father of computer science. This book doesn't portray him merely as a code breaker but also provides commentary on his brilliant foundation work as on Artificial intelligence. Discussion on the ultimate Turing test (proposal for a test of a machine's capability to perform human-like conversation) and Entscheidungs Problem is worth reading.

I shelve this book next to Knuth's "The Art of Computer Programming" which may state what it's worth.
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Format: Paperback
Copeland's book is basically a collection of some of Turing's original papers, completed with a short introduction for each part of the book. I was disappointed by this book as (1) one can easily find copies of Turing's work on the web, (2) there is very little additional value in Copeland's comments, and (3) the papers are not reproduced in their original typeset and layout. Elsevier's "Collected Works of A. M. Turing" (4 volumes) does a much better job and offers Turing's complete work.
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Format: Paperback
Enjoy this profound book by the father of the Digital Age. The Essential Turing is an excellent edition and long overdue. Turing's essential works are finally available in a single volume. Turing is one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century--he was rated up there with Einstein in Time magazine's 'The Century's Greatest Minds'. Copeland's lucid commentaries on Turing's work are fascinating and helpful. OUP is to be congratulated on putting Turing into the hands of the popular science book-buyer at long last.
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The Essential Turing: Seminal Writings in Computing, Logic, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Life plus The Secrets of Enigma
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