Every day, we use our computers to perform remarkable feats. A simple web search picks out a handful of relevant needles from the world's biggest haystack: the billions of pages on the World Wide Web. Uploading a photo to Facebook transmits millions of pieces of information over numerous error-prone network links, yet somehow a perfect copy of the photo arrives intact. Without even knowing it, we use public-key cryptography to transmit secret information like credit card numbers; and we use digital signatures to verify the identity of the websites we visit. How do our computers perform these tasks with such ease?
This is the first book to answer that question in language anyone can understand, revealing the extraordinary ideas that power our PCs, laptops, and smartphones. Using vivid examples, John MacCormick explains the fundamental "tricks" behind nine types of computer algorithms, including artificial intelligence (where we learn about the "nearest neighbor trick" and "twenty questions trick"), Google's famous PageRank algorithm (which uses the "random surfer trick"), data compression, error correction, and much more.
These revolutionary algorithms have changed our world: this book unlocks their secrets, and lays bare the incredible ideas that our computers use every day.
John MacCormick is a leading researcher and teacher of computer science. He has a PhD in computer vision from the University of Oxford, has worked in the research labs of Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, and is currently a professor of computer science at Dickinson College.
Table of Contents
Foreword ix Chapter 1. Introduction: What Are the Extraordinary Ideas Computers Use Every Day? 1 Chapter 2. Search Engine Indexing: Finding Needles in the World's Biggest Haystack 10 Chapter 3. PageRank: The Technology That Launched Google 24 Chapter 4. Public Key Cryptography: Sending Secrets on a Postcard 38 Chapter 5. Error-Correcting Codes: Mistakes That Fix Themselves 60 Chapter 6. Pattern Recognition: Learning from Experience 80 Chapter 7. Data Compression: Something for Nothing 105 Chapter 8. Databases: The Quest for Consistency 122 Chapter 9. Digital Signatures: Who Really Wrote This Software? 149 Chapter 10. What Is Computable? 174 Chapter 11. Conclusion: More Genius at Your Fingertips? 199 Acknowledgments 205 Sources and Further Reading 207 Index 211
Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers 3.5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting book, if you are inclined to want to know about hidden computer logic. If this is not high on your list, it might not be for you. Since I'm a "nerd" I found it peaked my curiosity about how things work. It is about reasoning imparted by programmers, not about any actual hardware.
More than 1 year ago
Very good book its not the best i ever read but this a good book and i recomend buying it!!!!!!!!!!!
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