In an extraordinary and ultimately tragic life that unfoldedlike a novel, Turing helped break the German Enigma code to turnthe tide of World War II, later speculated on artificialintelligence, fell victim to the homophobic witchhunts of the early1950s, and committed suicide at the age of 41. Yet Turing is mostfamous for an eerily prescient 1936 paper in which he invented animaginary computing machine, explored its capabilities andintrinsic limitations, and established the foundations ofmodern-day programming and computability.
This absorbing book expands Turing's now legendary 36-page paperwith extensive annotations, fascinating historical context, andpage-turning glimpses into his private life. From his use of binarynumbers to his exploration of concepts that today's programmerswill recognize as RISC processing, subroutines, algorithms, andothers, Turing foresaw the future and helped to mold it. In ourpost-Turing world, everything is a Turing Machine — from themost sophisticated computers we can build, to the hardlyalgorithmic processes of the human mind, to the information-ladenuniverse in which we live.
American writer Charles Petzold (1953–) is theauthor of the acclaimed 1999 book Code: The Hidden Language ofComputer Hardware and Software, a unique exploration into thedigital technologies of computers. He is also the author ofhundreds of articles about computer programming, as well as severalbooks on writing programs that run under Microsoft Windows. His Website is www.charlespetzold.com.