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The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine / Edition 1

The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine / Edition 1

by Charles PetzoldCharles Petzold


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Programming Legend Charles Petzold unlocks the secrets of the extraordinary and prescient 1936 paper by Alan M. Turing

Mathematician Alan Turing invented an imaginary computer known as the Turing Machine; in an age before computers, he explored the concept of what it meant to be computable, creating the field of computability theory in the process, a foundation of present-day computer programming.

The book expands Turing’s original 36-page paper with additional background chapters and extensive annotations; the author elaborates on and clarifies many of Turing’s statements, making the original difficult-to-read document accessible to present day programmers, computer science majors, math geeks, and others.

Interwoven into the narrative are the highlights of Turing’s own life: his years at Cambridge and Princeton, his secret work in cryptanalysis during World War II, his involvement in seminal computer projects, his speculations about artificial intelligence, his arrest and prosecution for the crime of "gross indecency," and his early death by apparent suicide at the age of 41.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470229057
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 06/16/2008
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 269,704
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

English mathematician Alan Turing (1912–1954) is the author of the 1936 paper "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem" that introduced the imaginary computer called the Turing Machine for understanding the nature and limitations of computing. His famous 1950 article "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" introduced the Turing Test for gauging artificial intelligence.

American writer Charles Petzold (1953–) is the author of the acclaimed 1999 book Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, a unique exploration into the digital technologies of computers. He is also the author of hundreds of articles about computer programming, as well as several books on writing programs that run under Microsoft Windows. His Web site is

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Table of Contents

Introduction vii

I Foundations 1

1 This Tomb Holds Diophantus 3

2 The Irrational and the Transcendental 13

3 Centuries of Progress 35

II Computable Numbers 55

4 The Education of Alan Turing 57

5 Machines at Work 79

6 Addition and Multiplication 97

7 Also Known as Subroutines 111

8 Everything Is a Number 127

9 The Universal Machine 143

10 Computers and Computability 163

11 Of Machines and Men 189

III Das Entscheidungsproblem 199

12 Logic and Computability 201

13 Computable Functions 231

14 The Major Proof 259

15 The Lambda Calculus 281

16 Conceiving the Continuum 299

IV And Beyond 323

17 Is Everything a Turing Machine? 325

18 The Long Sleep of Diophantus 351

Selected Bibliography 361

Index 366

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