Customer Review

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of promise, but disappointing delivery, May 16, 2011
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This review is from: The New Turing Omnibus: Sixty-Six Excursions in Computer Science (Paperback)
This book has a lot of promise, and the premise is a good one: providing capsule overviews of 66 different areas of Computer Science. Unfortunately the delivery ends up disappointing.

I was hoping for short, but complete, overview of a number of topics. Something I could share with my teenagers to try and spark an interest in computer science (given that when I was their age to use a computer you had no choice but to dive in and understand how the machine worked, so it was a giant puzzle which begged to be solved). However, to keep the subject count high and the page count within reason, it feels like some necessary detail was left out, making it much harder to fully grasp or appreciate the content of each chapter.

For example, Chapter 3 (Systems of Logic) starts off easily enough but quickly jumps off to complete bases, relying on the reader to fill in gaps that they may be unable to do without having more information available. Figure 3.1, "Structure of the complete bases" would benefit from more exposition. Certainly my 14 year old had trouble making sense of the diagram.

In rereading the author's introduction, it is clear that he does not intend this book to stand on its own. I feel, however, that it would be more useful for autodidacts to pull ten or so of the excursions and add more sites to the remainder.
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