Natural Computing: DNA, Quantum Bits, and the Future of Smart Machines

( 2 )

Overview

Reports from the cutting edge, where physics and biology are changing the fundamental assumptions of computing.
Computers built from DNA, bacteria, or foam. Robots that fix themselves on Mars. Bridges that report when they are aging. This is the bizarre and fascinating world of Natural Computing. Computer scientist and Scientific American’s “Puzzling Adventures” columnist Dennis Shasha here teams up with journalist Cathy Lazere to explore the outer reaches of computing. Drawing ...

See more details below
Paperback
$12.89
BN.com price
(Save 23%)$16.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (37) from $1.99   
  • New (10) from $3.89   
  • Used (27) from $1.99   
Natural Computing: DNA, Quantum Bits, and the Future of Smart Machines

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 38%)$16.95 List Price

Overview

Reports from the cutting edge, where physics and biology are changing the fundamental assumptions of computing.
Computers built from DNA, bacteria, or foam. Robots that fix themselves on Mars. Bridges that report when they are aging. This is the bizarre and fascinating world of Natural Computing. Computer scientist and Scientific American’s “Puzzling Adventures” columnist Dennis Shasha here teams up with journalist Cathy Lazere to explore the outer reaches of computing. Drawing on interviews with fifteen leading scientists, the authors present an unexpected vision: the future of computing is a synthesis with nature. That vision will change not only computer science but also fields as disparate as finance, engineering, and medicine. Space engineers are at work designing machines that adapt to extreme weather and radiation. “Wetware” processing built on DNA or bacterial cells races closer to reality. One scientist’s “extended analog computer” measures answers instead of calculating them using ones and zeros. In lively, readable prose, Shasha and Lazere take readers on a tour of the future of smart machines.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
In this breezy overview of current trends in computer design and software, computer science professor Shasha and writer-editor Lazere profile 15 computer scientists working on the application of "evolutionary techniques" like natural selection to robots exploring distant planets, next generation pharmaceutical designs, "analog programming," and more. While traditional computing relies on "skills learned in the last few hundred years of human history," pioneer Rodney Brooks looked to solutions developed over millennia of insect evolution, hypothesizing a robot that interacts directly with the world using touch and sonar, rather than a digital representation; today, Brooks designs bomb-disarming robots that crawl on "articulated pogo-stick sensing devices that work independently." In finance, Jake Loveless perfected "micromarket trading," which allows computers to detect patterns and adapt to changes over the very short term (such as minute-by-minute price and volume changes). Other profiles look at "computers" built out of DNA, the use of viruses to design new drugs, and other ways scientists are planning our escape from "the digital electronic prison" that dominates mainstream computing. Amateur tech enthusiasts should be absorbed by this knowledgeable but welcoming look at the bleeding edge of computing.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Washington Post
“The biographies, by Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere, are bite-size—no more than six pages or so—and the technical material is segregated in sidebars so that the reader doesn't get bogged down unless he or she wants to.”
Chicago Boyz blog
In their book Natural Computing, Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere describe the calculations necessary for the analysis of protein folding, which is important in biological research and particularly in drug design. Time must be divided into very short intervals of around one femtosecond, which is a million billionth of a second, and for each interval, the interactions of all the atoms involved in the process must be calculated. Then do it again for the next femtosecond, and the next, and the next.… It is sobering to think about what vast computational resources are necessary to even begin to simulate what tiny bits of nature do all the time.— David Foster
Wall Street Journal
In Natural Computing, Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere profile Mr. Shaw and 14 other scientists who are pushing computer science beyond traditional boundaries. In particular, the scientists are trespassing into the realms of biology and physics and attempting to create computer designs and functions that will imitate organic reality.— Jamie Hamilton
ACM Computing Reviews
There are many possible approaches to natural computing—computing inspired by nature—and Lazere and Shasha's new book gives a good overview of all of them… by telling the stories of some of the main players in the field.… even if you aren't a techie, the personal storytelling, which so nicely combines the technical focus of the book with the personal fascinations of the players, will still impress you with the natural computing field's main themes and challenges.… The authors also make the convincing case for parallel programming languages, such as K and APL, which seem indispensable when it comes to making effective use of the new generation of computer architectures.— Jan Van Den Bussche
World Politics Review
Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere draw upon interviews with 15 leading scientists working in disparate fields to explore the outer reaches of computing. They expected to write a book about a future world dominated by thinking machines, but instead found that the common vision to have emerged across all of these fields is that "the future of computing is a synthesis with nature.".... Reading the book, I came away with the comforting thought that the mindset of future computers will seem far less alien to my kids than to me.— Thomas P.M. Barnett
David Foster - Chicago Boyz blog
“In their book Natural Computing, Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere describe the calculations necessary for the analysis of protein folding, which is important in biological research and particularly in drug design. Time must be divided into very short intervals of around one femtosecond, which is a million billionth of a second, and for each interval, the interactions of all the atoms involved in the process must be calculated. Then do it again for the next femtosecond, and the next, and the next.… It is sobering to think about what vast computational resources are necessary to even begin to simulate what tiny bits of nature do all the time.”
Jamie Hamilton - Wall Street Journal
“In Natural Computing, Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere profile Mr. Shaw and 14 other scientists who are pushing computer science beyond traditional boundaries. In particular, the scientists are trespassing into the realms of biology and physics and attempting to create computer designs and functions that will imitate organic reality.”
Jan Van Den Bussche - ACM Computing Reviews
“There are many possible approaches to natural computing—computing inspired by nature—and Lazere and Shasha's new book gives a good overview of all of them… by telling the stories of some of the main players in the field.… even if you aren't a techie, the personal storytelling, which so nicely combines the technical focus of the book with the personal fascinations of the players, will still impress you with the natural computing field's main themes and challenges.… The authors also make the convincing case for parallel programming languages, such as K and APL, which seem indispensable when it comes to making effective use of the new generation of computer architectures.”
Thomas P.M. Barnett - World Politics Review
“Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere draw upon interviews with 15 leading scientists working in disparate fields to explore the outer reaches of computing. They expected to write a book about a future world dominated by thinking machines, but instead found that the common vision to have emerged across all of these fields is that "the future of computing is a synthesis with nature.".... Reading the book, I came away with the comforting thought that the mindset of future computers will seem far less alien to my kids than to me.”
Alexander Haislip
“[D]oes much to demystify what computer scientists do as well as reviewing the current state of research in the field. It’s the sort of book that’s perfect for a college student thinking about a career in computer science, or trying to understand which academic advisors to pick for his or her thesis.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393336832
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/17/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 962,933
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis E. Shasha, professor of computer science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, has written the "Puzzling Adventures" column in Scientific American. He lives in New York City.

Cathy Lazere, a former editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, is a freelance writer. She is based in New York.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Part I Adaptive Computing 1

1 Animals Rule Rodney Brooks 11

2 Design for a Faraway Planet Glenn Reeves Adrian Stoica 23

3 Putting Evolution on the Design Team Louis Qualls 43

4 Riding the Big One Jake Loveless Amrut Bharambe 55

5 "It's the System, Stupid" Nancy Leveson 69

Part II Harnessing Lifestuff 85

6 At the Edge of Life Ned Seeman 93

7 Lifestuff Imitates Art Paul Rothemund 105

8 Programming Bugs Steve Skiena 121

9 Building a Billion Biocomputers Gerald Sussman 133

10 From Local to Global Radhika Nagpal 147

Part III Physics and Speed 157

11 The Architect of Speed Monty Denneau 165

12 Anton and the Giant Femtoscope David Shaw 179

13 Doing What Comes Naturally Jonathan Mills 193

14 Finding a New Law of Physics Scott Aaronson 215

Epilogue 233

Natural Computing Time Line 237

Acknowledgments 243

References 245

Index 251

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)