- Paperback: 324 pages
- Publisher: CRC Press; 1 edition (July 7, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0738202967
- ISBN-13: 978-0738202969
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Feynman Lectures On Computation 1st Edition
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This book is geek's dream come true. It's a pleasure to read as it's written in Feynman's pedagogical writing style and is packed with so many topics. Feynman starts with basic logic gates, proceeds to finite state machines, Turing machines, and Halting problem. Then he discusses coding and information theory, Hamming codes, Shannon's theorem, and Huffman coding. He then explains reversible computation and thermodynamics of computing, entropy in thermodynamics and information theory and Maxwell's daemon. This chapter demonstrates a billiard ball computer, which is a reversible computer that can actually do calculations. Mind=blown. The book ends with a brief introduction to quantum computing (quantum computing was just starting when the book was written), and then explains physical aspects of computation.
I've placed this book #16 in My Top 100 Programming, Computer and Science books list:
(If this link gets removed google for >>catonmat top 100 programming, science books<<)
I found the entire chapter on Thermodynamics of Computing boring because I found the subject contrived; what is the point of a computation that could take an infinite amount of time to complete so as to be reversible? This is not fault of Feynman, he is only presenting the results.
Perhaps I just do not get the significance of all of this (contrived) reversible computation discus sons!
The next chapter, on Quantum Computing, was surprise for me since Feynman's take on Quantum Computing is very different than what is going by that name nowadays - his is based on using Hamiltonians and the time evolution of the system rather than on the qubit parallel processing. This was an interesting chapter and I learnt from it.
I think parts of the last chapter on the physical aspects of computation - covering transistors and VLSI - were worth reading. He introduces diodes and transistors and explains, in a high-level, the fabrication of the printed circuits. Much of the presentation is at the level of junior high school physics, excepting a few areas where he uses integration to calculate certain probabilities.
Over all, I found the book un-even, 4 strong chapters followed by 3 chapters less so.
It is worth reading?
Yes since the presentation is concise and to the point; specially in the first 4 chapters.
The material in chapters 5 and 6 are difficult to find in the Computer Science books that would ordinarily cover the earlier material.
The .PDF version of this book may be found @ [...]
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very clear style.Read more