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A Brief History of Computing [Hardcover]

Gerard O'Regan

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Book Description

Feb. 4 2008 1848000839 978-1848000834 1st Edition.
This comprehensive book provides an introduction into the key topics in the history of computing in an easy-to-follow and concise manner. It does not require studies in computer science in order to be understood and appreciated. The book covers significant areas and events in the field from the beginnings of computation in 3000B.C. through to the present day. Helpful pedagogical elements such as exercises and chapter summaries are included. Focusing on the fundamental areas in the computing field, this clearly written and broad-ranging text will catch the attention and greatly benefit computer science students.

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Review

From the reviews: "The history of computing is finding its way into the college curricula more often, and therefore the need for an accessible text on the subject is becoming greater. O’Regan’s book certainly merits careful consideration as an undergraduate text, as it has much to offer… Many books on computer science history emphasize only one or two areas – usually hardware development and the commercial history. This book is much broader in scope… it is more suitable for an undergraduate course than most other books… The book is a good size; it is not too big physically, and not too detailed for an undergraduate treatment or for a general reader who wants an overview that can be easily digested over a rainy weekend… O’Regan’s work manages to be both brief and broad in scope – a difficult task. This makes the book a valuable read and a good textbook." (M.D. Derk, ACM Computing Reviews) "In summary, I believe this text delivers on its aim of being an introduction to the topic for a technical audience. The book’s main strength is the inclusion of software engineering approaches such as CMMI. This helps communicate a message that ‘computing’ is not just about calculation or data processing, but a complex topic that intersects with the history of business delivery, quality standards, and process governance." (Charles Care, BSHM Bulletin, Vol. 24, 2009)

From the Back Cover

The history of computing has its origins at the outset of civilization. As towns and communities evolved there was a need for increasingly sophisticated calculations. This book traces the evolution of computation, from early civilisations 3000 B.C. to the latest key developments in modern times. This useful and lively text provides a comprehensive introduction to the key topics in the history of computing, in an easy-to-follow and concise manner. It covers the significant areas and events in the field - from the ancient Egyptians through to the present day - and both gives the reader a flavour of the history and stimulates further study in the subject. Features: • Ideal for undergraduate courses, it offers many pedagogical features such as chapter-opening key topics, chapter introductions, exercises, chapter summaries, glossary, etc. • Offers detailed information on major figures in computing, such as Boole, Babbage, Shannon , Turing and Von Neumann • Includes a history of programming languages, including syntax and semantics • Presents an overview of the history of software engineering • Discusses the progress of artificial intelligence, with extension to such key disciplines as philosophy, psychology, linguistics, neural networks and cybernetics • Examines the history of the Internet revolution, World Wide Web and Dot-Com Bubble • Follows the evolution of a number of major technology companies such as IBM, Motorola and Microsoft Focusing on the fundamental areas in the computing field, this clearly written and broad-ranging text will capture the attention of the reader and greatly benefit computer science students. In addition, it is suitable for self-study, and will also be of interest to the more casual reader. Dr Gerard O’Regan is a CMMI software process improvement consultant with research interests including software quality and software process improvement; mathematical approaches to software quality; and the history of computing. He has published A Practical Approach to Software Quality and Mathematical Approaches to Software Quality.  

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Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough historical context to justify calling it a history March 19 2008
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a book that could not be used as a text in the history of computing until at least the late sophomore level. Most of the topics used as the base points in the historical examination are sufficiently sophisticated that some significant computing background is necessary to understand them.
The book opens with a brief history of the mathematics of early civilizations such as the Chinese, Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks and the Islamic countries when civilization grew dark in Europe. This is followed by a chapter in the foundations of computing. Some of the topics introduced in this chapter are Boolean algebra, Turing machines, the Von Neumann architecture and the information theory of Claude Shannon. The following chapter titles are:

*) Computer programming languages
*) Software engineering
*) Artificial intelligence and expert systems
*) The Internet revolution
*) Famous technology companies

I would not consider adopting this book as either the primary text in a course in the history of computing or as an ancillary text in any course involving the history of computing. While some historical context is presented, there is not enough to justify calling it the "history of computing." A true history must always present a significant amount of historical context.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book IF you read the preface first May 21 2010
By Phil - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The purpose of the book was to provide a broad overview of computer technology through the ages and the book did this (as mentioned in the PREFACE). I enjoyed it and it did a good job going over computing technlogy (from Egypt up to the present time). It was well written, gave a nice quick overview and was technically-sufficient to be effective but not overly complicated. However, if you want details on any topic of computing history then this is not the book for you.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing June 23 2008
By planetmde.org - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was eager to read this book, but when I received it I was extremly disappointed by its content. It speaks a little bit about everything (just have a look at the huge list of topics), but nothing in depth and most importantly nothing that could be understood per see. Moreover, what is really missing is some nice story puting everything together. Currently, the book just look like a series of rather unrelated texts with no common vision. Some chapters just look like if wikipedia pieces of text were put together to form a chapter. Some information are not relevant, put seems to be there just to fit some space in the chapter. There are a lot of photos of people that did something in computer science, but frankly I don't think that these portraits constitute the better way to explain the wonderful story of computing. There are plently of nice books about this history, this one is the most disappointing. I would not suggest using it as a text book. May be I was expecting too much.
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is garbage. It waffles back and forth between fairly advanced ... Sept. 9 2014
By tiffanie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is garbage. It waffles back and forth between fairly advanced ideas and concepts that have nothing to do with computing. The footnotes are ridiculous for the most part. For example: 29-"I am aware of no other mathematician who was also a poet." <-- what does that have to do with anything?!? Also, there are an awful lot of untruths concerning knowledge in the Middle Ages. If you're going to write a history book, maybe read one first.

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