The Advent of the Algorithm by David Berlinski
The Idea that Rules the World

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The algorithm is just code, but it makes things happen. It's the set of abstract, detailed instructions that makes computers run. Any programmer can invent a new algorithm-and many have become millionaires doing just that. Computers, the Internet, virtual reality-our world is being transformed before our eyes, all because some quirky logicians and mathematicians followed the dream of ultimate abstraction and invented the algorithm. Beginning with Leibniz and culminating in the middle of this century with the work of little-known geniuses and eccentrics like Gödel and Turing, David Berlinski tells this epic tale with clarity and imaginative brilliance. You don't have to be a programmer or a math buff to enjoy his book. All you have to do is be fascinated by the greatest innovation of the twentieth century.

About David Berlinski

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David Berlinski is an essayist, philosopher, and mathematician. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton and has spent many years in various academic positions across America and abroad. He is the author of "A Tour of the Calculus" and "The Advent of the Algorithm." He lives in Paris.
Published March 31, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 416 pages
Genres: History, Computers & Technology, Education & Reference, Science & Math, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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(He may well attract the same readers who gravitated, 20 years ago, to Douglas Hofstadter's G del, Escher, Bach, though the books' personalities and prose styles have little in common.) Although not perfect--the book can be hyperbolic or too aphoristic and digressive for those who just want to le...

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