Histories of Computing

Histories of Computing

by Michael Sean Mahoney
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674055683

ISBN-13: 9780674055681

Pub. Date: 06/20/2011

Publisher: Harvard

Computer technology is pervasive in the modern world, its role ever more important as it becomes embedded in a myriad of physical systems and disciplinary ways of thinking. The late Michael Sean Mahoney was a pioneer scholar of the history of computing, one of the first established historians of science to take seriously the challenges and opportunities posed by

Overview

Computer technology is pervasive in the modern world, its role ever more important as it becomes embedded in a myriad of physical systems and disciplinary ways of thinking. The late Michael Sean Mahoney was a pioneer scholar of the history of computing, one of the first established historians of science to take seriously the challenges and opportunities posed by information technology to our understanding of the twentieth century.

Mahoney’s work ranged widely, from logic and the theory of computation to the development of software and applications as craft-work. But it was always informed by a unique perspective derived from his distinguished work on the history of medieval mathematics and experimental practice during the Scientific Revolution. His writings offered a new angle on very recent events and ideas and bridged the gaps between academic historians and computer scientists. Indeed, he came to believe that the field was irreducibly pluralistic and that there could be only histories of computing.

In this collection, Thomas Haigh presents thirteen of Mahoney’s essays and papers organized across three categories: historiography, software engineering, and theoretical computer science. His introduction surveys Mahoney’s work to trace the development of key themes, illuminate connections among different areas of his research, and put his contributions into context. The volume also includes an essay on Mahoney by his former students Jed Z. Buchwald and D. Graham Burnett. The result is a landmark work, of interest to computer professionals as well as historians of technology and science.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674055681
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
06/20/2011
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

Unexpected Connections, Powerful Precedents, and Big Questions: The Work of Michael Sean Mahoney on the History of Computing Thomas Haigh 1

Part 1 Shaping the History of Computing

1 The History of Computing in the History of Technology 21

2 What Makes History? 38

3 Issues in the History of Computing 42

4 The Histories of Computing(s) 55

Part 2 Constructing a History for Software

5 Software: The Self-Programming Machine 77

6 Extracts from The Roots of Software Engineering 86

7 Finding a History for Software Engineering 90

8 Boys' Toys and Women's "Work: Feminism Engages Software 106

Part 3 The Structures of Computation

9 Computing and Mathematics at Princeton in the 1950s 121

10 Computer Science: The Search for a Mathematical Theory 128

11 Extracts from Computers and Mathematics: The Search for a Discipline of Computer Science 147

12 The Structures of Computation and the Mathematical Structure of Nature 158

13 Extracts from Software as Science—Science as Software 183

Éloge: Michael Sean Mahoney, 1939-2008 Jed Z. Buchwald D. Graham Burnett 197

Notes 205

Acknowledgments 241

Index 243

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