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

ISBN-13: 978-0198250807 ISBN-10: 0198250800

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The Essential Turing: Seminal Writings in Computing, Logic, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Life plus The Secrets of Enigma + The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine + Alan Turing: The Enigma The Centenary Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 622 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (November 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198250800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198250807
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #778,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 11, 2005
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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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Adnan Masood on March 21, 2005
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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28 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Tom Howard on February 28, 2005
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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