Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine

Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine

by B. Jack Copeland
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
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Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine

The mathematical genius Alan Turing (1912-1954) was one of the greatest scientists and thinkers of the 20th century. Now well known for his crucial wartime role in breaking the ENIGMA code, he was the first to conceive of the fundamental principle of the modern computer-the idea of controlling a computing machine's operations by means of a program of coded instructions, stored in the machine's 'memory'. In 1945 Turing drew up his revolutionary design for an electronic computing machine-his Automatic Computing Engine ('ACE'). A pilot model of the ACE ran its first program in 1950 and the production version, the 'DEUCE', went on to become a cornerstone of the fledgling British computer industry. The first 'personal' computer was based on Turing's ACE.

Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine describes Turing's struggle to build the modern computer. The first detailed history of Turing's contributions to computer science, this text is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the computer and the history of mathematics. It contains first hand accounts by Turing and by the pioneers of computing who worked with him. As well as relating the story of the invention of the computer, the book clearly describes the hardware and software of the ACE-including the very first computer programs. The book is intended to be accessible to everyone with an interest in computing, and contains numerous diagrams and illustrations as well as original photographs.

The book contains some previously unpublished work by Turing as well as data that has only recently been declassified, and there are in addition chapters describing Turing's path-breaking research in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Life (A-Life). The book has an extensive system of hyperlinks to The Turing Archive for the History of Computing, an on-line library of digital facsimiles of typewritten documents by Turing and the other scientists who pioneered the electronic computer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198565932
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 06/30/2005
Pages: 558
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword, Donald W. Davies
Introduction, B. Jack Copeland
Part I: The National Physical Laboratory and the ACE Project
A Century of Measurement and Computation at the National Physical Laboratory, 1900-2000, Eileen Magnello
The Creation of the NPL Mathematics Division, Mary Croarken
The Origins and Development of the ACE Project, B. Jack Copeland
The Pilot ACE at the National Physical Laboratory, James H. Wilkinson
Part II: Turing and the History of Computing
The ACE and the Shaping of British Computing, Martin Campbell-Kelly
Computer Architecture and the ACE Computers, Robert Doran
Turing and the Computer, B. Jack Copeland and Diane Proudfoot
From Turing Machine to "Electronic Brain", Teresa Numerico
Part III: The ACE Computers
The Pilot ACE Instruction Format, Henry John Norton
Programming the Pilot ACE, J.G. Hayes
The Pilot ACE: from Concept to Reality, Robin A. Vowels
The DEUCE-a User's View, Robin A. Vowels
Applications of the Pilot ACE and the DEUCE, Tom Vickers
The ACE Test Assembly, the Pilot ACE, the Big ACE, and the Bendix G15, Harry D. Huskey
The ACE Simulator and the Cybernetic Model, Michael Woodger
The Pilot Model and the Big ACE on the Web, Benjamin Wells
Part IV: Electronics
How Valves Work, David O. Clayden
Recollections of Early Vacuum Tube Circuits, Maurice Wilkes
Circuit Design of the Pilot ACE and the Big ACE, David O. Clayden
Part V: Technical Reports and Lectures on the ACE and the Pilot ACE, 1945-1951
Proposed Electronic Calculator (1945), Alan M. Turing
Notes on Memory (1945), Alan M. Turing
The Turing-Wilkinson Lecture Series (1946-1947), Alan M. Turing and James H. Wilkinson
The State of the Art in Electronic Digital Computing in Britain and the United States (1947), Harry D. Huskey

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