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The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing Paperback – December 13, 2011

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The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing + The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press (December 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466505192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466505193
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The stories masterfully told in this book underscore the power of ideas and the ‘futility of predicting in advance where they will lead.’ … the structure and presentation of the material make the book an outstanding achievement."
SIGACT News, 2014

"In just over two hundred pages, noted logician Davis (emer., New York Univ.) weaves the story, starting with Leibniz, Boole, and Frege, that leads to the universal computer. … One should read this book from cover to cover, and take the time to read the chapter notes. Do not miss Aiken's (1956!) quote in the introduction, and spend time thinking about the brief summary in the epilogue. Libraries that do not own the original edition will definitely want to acquire this book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."
CHOICE Magazine, October 2012

"Now in a revised edition with added insights concerning Konrad Zuse, the success of the IBM Watson on the game show Jeopardy!, and more, The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing is an extraordinary study of computational pioneers who ultimately transformed the modern world. … highly recommended especially for college library computer science shelves, and an exceptional pick for any reader who is curious about the lives and efforts of great thinkers."
Library Bookwatch, September 2012

"I read and enjoyed the first edition. Upon reading the second, I was again impressed. The book remains fresh and compelling. … I recommend this book very highly. It is suitable for a high school or college library."
—Richard Wilders, MAA Reviews, September 2012

"Anyone who works with computers today, anyone who seeks to look into the electronic future, can profit greatly from reading Martin Davis’s fine ramble through the history of logic and the lives of its pioneers."
—John McCarthy, Stanford University

"At last, a book about the origin of the computer that goes to the heart of the story: the human struggle for logic and truth. Erudite, gripping, and humane, Martin Davis shows the extraordinary individuals through whom the groundwork of the computer came into being, and the culmination in Alan Turing, whose universal machine now dominates the world economy."
—Andrew Hodges, author of Alan Turing: The Enigma

"This updated and eminently readable account of the development of computers and computability theory is a well-wrought tribute to the pioneers in those fields, and in particular to Alan Turing on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth."
—John W. Dawson, author of Logical Dilemmas: The Life and Work of Kurt Gödel

"The author and I are near the same age, and what amazing progress we have seen in more than half a century since our college days! The great pioneers, Alan Turing and John von Neumann, would be truly astonished to see how computers have evolved and how they have invaded nearly every aspect of modern life─for both good and evil. In this centenary of Turing's birth, let us pause to honor their vision and multiple accomplishments and to enjoy the lively, readable and insightful story the author weaves for us in this book."
—Dana S. Scott, University Professor Emeritus, Carnegie Mellon University, and ACM Turing Award Winner, 1976

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By GREVIEWS on March 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Martin Davis' book is excellent! It starts out to be biographies of seven great mathematicians/logicians, but is so much more. You get inside the heads of these great men, but you also learn about their lives, the world in which they lived, world history, and the mathematics that they developed. Dr. Davis has a way of presenting the math in a style that practically anyone can understand with a little effort. Also, Dr. Davis adds anecdotes about some of the men in his book because he knew them or heard them speak. Also, Dr. Davis is a math/logic professor with many years of experience. The book presents the material so the reader feels like he's reading an exciting story. The book is exciting and energetic. For anyone with an interest in science or math, computers, technology, this is a worthwhile read. Students entering college would especially benefit from the book as it might give their course of study some new meaning and provide additional motivation to learn and achieve.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I purchased Kindle version. Attempt to load purchased book resulted in "Format incompatibility" message

I tried Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle App on Android, iPad, Kindle on Windows. Nothing.

Fortunately, I was able to get refund.

Purchasing paper version
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