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Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of a Great Thinker Hardcover – June 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

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From the reviews:

"This is a wonderful book, which does deliver what it promises; and that is no small feat. … One of the things that I like in the book is its sense of fun. … It is beautifully written and contains a very nice survey of an area that deserves to be better known to mathematicians. … Finally, the book is beautifully produced, abundantly illustrated … . I recommend it to everyone interested in any aspect of Turing’s legacy … ." (S.C. Coutinho, The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 89 (516), 2005)

"This remarkable volume is the serendipitous result of Christof Teuscher realizing in September 2001 that Turing would have celebrated his 90th birthday on June 23, 2002. … This book is the definitive collection of commemorative essays, and the distinguished contributors have expertise in such diverse fields as artificial intelligence, natural computing, mathematics, physics, cryptography, cognitive studies, philosophy and anthropology. The volume spans the entire rich spectrum of Turing’s life, research work and legacy." (Cryptologia, Vol. 29 (1), 2005)

"It is difficult to find the superlatives to describe the wonderful job the contributors to this book have done. Every chapter is written in an expository fashion, demanding very little in the way of background knowledge from any scientifically minded reader. The range of topics is also impressive … . I unreservedly recommend this book to anyone even slightly interested in the continuing role of Turing’s work in the development of computer science in particular, and ideas in general." (John L. Casti, nature, Issue 428, 2004)

From the Back Cover

Alan Turing's fundamental contributions to computing led to the development of modern computing technology, and his work continues to inspire researchers in computing science and beyond. This book is the definitive collection of commemorative essays, and the distinguished contributors have expertise in such diverse fields as artificial intelligence, natural computing, mathematics, physics, cryptology, cognitive studies, philosophy and anthropology.

The volume spans the entire rich spectrum of Turing's life, research work and legacy. New light is shed on the future of computing science by visionary Ray Kurzweil. Notable contributions come from the philosopher Daniel Dennett, the Turing biographer Andrew Hodges, and the distinguished logician Martin Davis, who provides a first critical essay on an emerging and controversial field termed hypercomputation. A special feature of the book is the play by Valeria Patera which tackles the scandal surrounding the last apple, and presents as an enigma the life, death and destiny of the man who did so much to decipher the Enigma code during the Second World War.

Other chapters are modern reappraisals of Turing's work on computability, and deal with the major philosophical questions raised by the Turing Test, while the book also contains essays addressing his less well-known ideas on Fibonacci phyllotaxis and connectionism.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 542 pages
  • Publisher: Springer (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3540200207
  • ISBN-13: 978-3540200208
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,045,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By C. S. Webster on July 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book celebrates the 90th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing by bringing together a large set of essays on topics as diverse and colourful as the work and life of the man himself. Turing's fundamental contributions to computing kick started the modern computing era. However, he also made early and outstanding contributions to artificial intelligence, artificial neural networks, morphogenesis, cryptology and the philosophy of mind. The book touches on all these areas and includes contributions from luminaries such as Martin Davis, Daniel Dennett, Andrew Hodges, Douglas Hofstadter and Ray Kurzweil. The book also contains some essays on contemporary topics related to Turing's work such as the controversial area of so-called hypercomputation. While many of the essays are advanced, the material remains accessible and interesting. Turing had a strikingly original and whimsical imagination - reflecting this, and unlike many books on technical topics, this one includes some of the kind of speculation that is bound to fire the imagination of readers. Will computers outstrip human intelligence, and when might it happen? Will we become more like computers, or will they become more like us? Ninety years on from the birth of Alan Turing such issues are more relevant and pressing than ever, and this book makes an excellent advanced introduction to the breadth of Turing's work.
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Format: Hardcover
Teuscher has gathered together a set of thought provoking essays about Turing and the ideas he espoused. The diverse range of the essays is a good reflection of Turing's genius.

The essay on making a self-replicating Turing machine reflects earlier speculations on what might more generally be considered a self-replicating Neumann machine.

There is a palpable sense of loss in the book. Turing died at a relatively young age. What if he had lived decades longer? He could have seen the immense flowering of computing, in hardware and software. With his genius, what other insights might he have given us? If you wish, you can regard the book as speculations into this unknowable.

One of the book's authors, Copeland, has recently edited another book -'The Essential Turing', which has essays by Turing himself, and you may want to look at that text.
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