The Pattern on the Stone. The Simple Ideas that Make Computers Work

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9780297816904: The Pattern on the Stone. The Simple Ideas that Make Computers Work
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The world was shocked when a computer, Deep Blue defeated Gary Kasparov, arguably the greatest human chess player ever to have lived. This remarkable victory, and other, more day-to-day innovations, beg serious questions: what are the limits of what computers can do? Can they think? Do they learn?



Discussions of these questions tend to get muddled because most people have only the vaguest idea of how computers actually work. This book explains the inner workings of computers in a way that does not require a profound knowledge of mathematics nor an understanding of electrical engineering. Starting with an account of how computers are built and why they work, W. Daniel Hillis describes what they can and cannot do -- at the present time - before explaining how a computer can surpass its programmer and, finally, where humanity has reached in its quest for a true Thinking Machine.

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Review:

PRAISE FOR "THE PATTERN ON THE STONE"
"This is the best book on computers I have ever read. Hillis takes us on a lightening tour of the fundamentals of computing... Nowhere does [he] lose sight of the fact that what is important is not the detail of these issues, but the story that flows through them and rationality of thought that connects them." --Peter Thomas, "New Scientist"
"[Hillis'] conclusion is thoughtfully optimistic--and appealing even to a skeptic." --Dan Brekke, "WIRED"
""The Pattern on the Stone" illustrates basic computing concepts with line drawings of Tinkertoys in various positions--a surprisingly helpful approach... The book's gradual pace, low-tech design and gentle title are meant to bring hope to those who feel swamped by a tidal wave of computer-wrought change. And the approach succeeds, by showing the reader how humans, not magicians, discovered a few basic principles and built these amazing machines." --Bill Brazell, "The Industry Standard"
"Hillis...provides an almost philosophical approach to the machine that has changed our lives....[He] writes with the authority of an expert and the rigor of a logician....A helpful and succinct volume."--"Publisher's Weekly"
"Everyone has sorted socks and played tic-tac-toe. Hillis uses these simple examples and similar everyday experiences to explain the ideas that make computers work.... Highly recommended." --"Library Journal"
"Here's a straightforward answer to the question every parent has been asked, and few can answer: How do computers really work?" --"Kirkus Reviews"
"A delightful all-in-one introduction to computer science." --"Booklist"
"An accessible, fascinating account of the fundamental processes that make computers tick." --"Hartford Courant"
Peter Thomas, "New Scientist"
"This is the best book on computers I have ever read. Hillis takes us on a lightening tour of the fundamentals of computing.... Nowhere does [he] lose sight of the fact that what is important is not the detail of these issues, but the story that flows through them and rationality of thought that connects them."
Dan Brekke, "WIRED"
"[Hillis'] conclusion is thoughtfully optimistic--and appealing even to a skeptic."
Bill Brazell, "The Industry Standard"
""The Pattern on the Stone" illustrates basic computing concepts with line drawings of Tinkertoys in various positions--a surprisingly helpful approach.... The book's gradual pace, low-tech design and gentle title are meant to bring hope to those who feel swamped by a tidal wave of computer-wrought change. And the approach succeeds, by showing the reader how humans, not magicians, discovered a few basic principles and built these amazing machines."
"Publisher's Weekly"
"Hillis...provides an almost philosophical approach to the machine that has changed our lives.... [He] writes with the authority of an expert and the rigor of a logician.... A helpful and succinct volume."
"Library Journal"
"Everyone has sorted socks and played tic-tac-toe. Hillis uses these simple examples and similar everyday experiences to explain the ideas that make computers work.... Highly recommended."
"Kirkus Reviews"
"Here's a straightforward answer to the question every parent has been asked, and few can answer: How do computers really work?"
"Booklist"
"A delightful all-in-one introduction to computer science."
"Hartford Courant"
"An accessible, fascinating account of the fundamental processes that make computers tick."

Peter Thomas, "New Scientist"
This is the best book on computers I have ever read. Hillis takes us on a lightening tour of the fundamentals of computing.... Nowhere does [he] lose sight of the fact that what is important is not the detail of these issues, but the story that flows through them and rationality of thought that connects them.
Dan Brekke, "WIRED"
[Hillis ] conclusion is thoughtfully optimisticand appealing even to a skeptic.
Bill Brazell, "The Industry Standard"
"The Pattern on the Stone" illustrates basic computing concepts with line drawings of Tinkertoys in various positionsa surprisingly helpful approach.... The book s gradual pace, low-tech design and gentle title are meant to bring hope to those who feel swamped by a tidal wave of computer-wrought change. And the approach succeeds, by showing the reader how humans, not magicians, discovered a few basic principles and built these amazing machines.
"Publisher s Weekly"
Hillis provides an almost philosophical approach to the machine that has changed our lives.... [He] writes with the authority of an expert and the rigor of a logician.... A helpful and succinct volume.
"Library Journal"
Everyone has sorted socks and played tic-tac-toe. Hillis uses these simple examples and similar everyday experiences to explain the ideas that make computers work.... Highly recommended.
"Kirkus Reviews"
Here s a straightforward answer to the question every parent has been asked, and few can answer: How do computers really work?
"Booklist"
A delightful all-in-one introduction to computer science.
"Hartford Courant"
An accessible, fascinating account of the fundamental processes that make computers tick. "

Peter Thomas, New Scientist
"This is the best book on computers I have ever read. Hillis takes us on a lightening tour of the fundamentals of computing.... Nowhere does [he] lose sight of the fact that what is important is not the detail of these issues, but the story that flows through them and rationality of thought that connects them."

Dan Brekke, WIRED
"[Hillis'] conclusion is thoughtfully optimistic--and appealing even to a skeptic."

Bill Brazell, The Industry Standard
"The Pattern on the Stone illustrates basic computing concepts with line drawings of Tinkertoys in various positions--a surprisingly helpful approach.... The book's gradual pace, low-tech design and gentle title are meant to bring hope to those who feel swamped by a tidal wave of computer-wrought change. And the approach succeeds, by showing the reader how humans, not magicians, discovered a few basic principles and built these amazing machines."

Publisher's Weekly
"Hillis...provides an almost philosophical approach to the machine that has changed our lives.... [He] writes with the authority of an expert and the rigor of a logician.... A helpful and succinct volume."

Book Description:

Will computers become thinking machines? A scientist at the cutting-edge of current research gives his provocative analysis

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780465066933: The Pattern On The Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work (Science Masters)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0465066933 ISBN 13:  9780465066933
Publisher: Basic Books, 2015
Softcover

9780465025954: The Pattern On The Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work

Basic ..., 1998
Hardcover