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Turing (A Novel about Computation) Hardcover – Oct 10 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (Oct. 10 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262162180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262162180
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,662,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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"I'll remember his name all right," Ethel thinks as her airplane leaves behind the northern coast of Scotland. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on March 5 2004
Format: Hardcover
An interesting novel in the vein of Sophi's World. As that story introduced the reader in a gentle fashion to the history of western philosophy, this book introduces the reader to the history of computation. It is wrapped in a love story (or perhaps a love triangle story would be better). As other reviewers have mentioned, the range of topics cover is expansive and somewhat eclectic. But it works nonetheless. The newsgroup postings at the end are apparently fictional as well, or at least fictionalized.
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Format: Hardcover
Turing is a wonderful tale of romance and discovery in a networked society.
A clever and captivating story line guides the reader through centuries of human ingenuity and intellectual achievement. The carefully crafted characters become alive instantly as we assimilate their charisma, vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies. The author's expressiveness and attention to detail are uncanny, particularly when describing the interactions of the diverse personalities. The dialog is equally engaging and coherent, although somewhat less crisp in the middle section of the book.
In one of its central themes, Turing explores the preservation of knowledge and ideas across life spans and generations. Specifically, the book excels at demonstrating the importance of preserving not only the core innovations but also the processes, thinking patterns, and personality traits that led to their discovery. Storytelling is used throughout the book as a key tool of disseminating intellectual capital.
The successful fusion of history, economics, mathematics, computer science, and let's not forget rock lyrics, is brilliant and original. Indeed, the book illustrates the intrinsic value of merging heterogeneous subjects, cultures, and viewpoints when solving Byzantine problems.
The humorous undertone, together with a crystal clear presentation of modern scientific thoughts, make this book both educational and enjoyable.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Hardcover
A dot-com princess vacationing in a greek island meets a left-wing intellectual: Sex, web jargon, rock lyrics, post-politics, nude beaches, more sex. A bisexual, drug-addicted, HIV-positive hacker is biding his time in the Far East. Archimedes is about to discover how to use math and gears to run the economy of ancient Italy. And in the middle of all this a program named "Turing" (the name being the only stupid thing about it) inflicts upon anybody who would listen a heretical, irreverend, computer-obsessed account of Man's quest for the truth through the centuries --- in a cocky, funny, cursory monologue, often quite insighhtful and original, that fills about half of the pages and leaves too little for the thin, yet engaging, plot. Finally, a bunch of raving lunatics (you wonder how many of them are real) respond to the book in a newsgroup excerpted in an appendix.
Overall, a delightful little book, which works against all odds and despite its many oddities.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sung Fat Freddie Kwok on May 10 2004
Format: Hardcover
A must read for computer science. I love the way how Chritos explain the theories of math and cs. The book is extremely fun to read. Great book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Unique Tale of Romance and Discovery -- A Must Read! Jan. 31 2004
By Rico Blaser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Turing is a wonderful tale of romance and discovery in a networked society.
A clever and captivating story line guides the reader through centuries of human ingenuity and intellectual achievement. The carefully crafted characters become alive instantly as we assimilate their charisma, vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies. The author's expressiveness and attention to detail are uncanny, particularly when describing the interactions of the diverse personalities. The dialog is equally engaging and coherent, although somewhat less crisp in the middle section of the book.
In one of its central themes, Turing explores the preservation of knowledge and ideas across life spans and generations. Specifically, the book excels at demonstrating the importance of preserving not only the core innovations but also the processes, thinking patterns, and personality traits that led to their discovery. Storytelling is used throughout the book as a key tool of disseminating intellectual capital.
The successful fusion of history, economics, mathematics, computer science, and let's not forget rock lyrics, is brilliant and original. Indeed, the book illustrates the intrinsic value of merging heterogeneous subjects, cultures, and viewpoints when solving Byzantine problems.
The humorous undertone, together with a crystal clear presentation of modern scientific thoughts, make this book both educational and enjoyable.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Post-modern love story with a twist Nov. 16 2003
By "mvx" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A dot-com princess vacationing in a greek island meets a left-wing intellectual: Sex, web jargon, rock lyrics, post-politics, nude beaches, more sex. A bisexual, drug-addicted, HIV-positive hacker is biding his time in the Far East. Archimedes is about to discover how to use math and gears to run the economy of ancient Italy. And in the middle of all this a program named "Turing" (the name being the only stupid thing about it) inflicts upon anybody who would listen a heretical, irreverend, computer-obsessed account of Man's quest for the truth through the centuries --- in a cocky, funny, cursory monologue, often quite insighhtful and original, that fills about half of the pages and leaves too little for the thin, yet engaging, plot. Finally, a bunch of raving lunatics (you wonder how many of them are real) respond to the book in a newsgroup excerpted in an appendix.
Overall, a delightful little book, which works against all odds and despite its many oddities.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A charming short novel March 4 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An interesting novel in the vein of Sophi's World. As that story introduced the reader in a gentle fashion to the history of western philosophy, this book introduces the reader to the history of computation. It is wrapped in a love story (or perhaps a love triangle story would be better). As other reviewers have mentioned, the range of topics cover is expansive and somewhat eclectic. But it works nonetheless. The newsgroup postings at the end are apparently fictional as well, or at least fictionalized.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A little relationship failure, a little emotional angst and a great deal of explanation of the fundamentals of computation April 10 2010
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Computation in computers and how it relates to the operations performed in the human brain are often equated, but largely without evidence that it is justified. Despite decades of research, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is still largely a speculative science and the human brain also remains a mystery.
In this novel, Papadimitriou takes an interesting approach to the task of explaining computation theory. The wrapper plot is based on three primary human characters, a computer executive named Ethel, Alexandros, an archeologist with a history of uncertain relationships and Ian, a computer hacker in both the sense of talent and willingness to enter computer systems. Ethel and Alexandros have a brief love entanglement, but when that ends when Ethel departs, Alexandros is in need of solace.
It is at this stage when the main character appears, a computer program called Turing, named of course after the British mathematical genius Alan Turing. Turing is extremely intelligent and begins a series of online lectures to Alexandros about the history of computing, starting at the time when abstract mathematics made its' first appearance. Turing is a very good lecturer, able to bring the topic down to the level of Alexandros, playing the role of a facade for the general reader. The explanations are excellent, well within the level of understanding of the general reader.
The novel form, with a little bit of love lost, a little bit of science lost and a great deal of understanding about computation gained, is done very well. This is one of the few fiction books that could find a legitimate place in an upper level computer science course.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Novel Approach to Fiction Aug. 4 2005
By Austin W. Marshall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book, I first heard about it when Papadimitriou gave a guest-lecture at my school on the application of game theory to the study of the evolution of the internet. Much of the story involves tutoring sessions between Turing and Alaxendros while in the background a story evolves. There are some interesting aspects to this book that set it apart from most fiction I've read, for example, there are citations scattered about which point to transcripts from a fictional newsgroup discussion. I found this approach to be much more pleasing than footnotes explaining back story. (...)

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