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Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Mar 6 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st Edition edition (March 6 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375422773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375422775
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.6 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David A. Moores on Dec 2 2012
Format: Hardcover
This favourably greeted book was a real disappointment. In a nutshell, it takes an inordinate amount of time to go into the life histories, life and times of the principal players and institutions involved, to the point of yawning boredom. The book needed a good editor to persuade the author that he didn't need to unclude every little item found in his research. What's more the narrative jumps around chronologically so that it becomes choppy in the extreme. All this at the expense of ever having properly explained, the ingenuity that enabled the digital computer to be created. Sure, we get descriptions of some engineering features, and descriptions of various technologies, but it all comes across flat. The core insights and genius of Alan Turing are never explained, and that was the one thing above all else, that I was looking forward to.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Turing's Cathedral' seems to be more a history of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study (and its involvement in early digital computing) than of the computer itself. Had I known that going into the book, my expectations would have been different and my review perhaps more favourable. For instance, Turing himself is mentioned maybe a few times here and there in the first few chapters, while the architect of the first IAS building gets at least a full paragraph and the early American battles fought on the land are given a few pages. It is not until the final chapter that we get a comprehensive picture of Turing the man, and even then almost no mention is given to the hypothesis -- whether to embrace or discredit it -- that his death from cyanide poisoning was suicide. Overall, it might be worth a read if you want a broad picture of the development of digital computing, but for a more specific focus (and a stronger emphasis on the science over the history, as those in related technical fields might enjoy), I would recommend looking elsewhere.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's almost as though one was looking over the shoulders of these inventors and innovators. I think it captures the atmosphere of wonder and excitement they must have experienced.
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By DIANE S on Jan. 16 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a Xmas present and he has had his nose stuck in it since New Years! Told me it was a very well researched book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C.M.Ganapathy on Sept. 5 2012
Format: Hardcover
Dyson is a remarkable writer who can set you thinking about things you never imagined before. This is a fascinating story really well told. What is it with Hungarians and mathematics?
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