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Bowden B.V. Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines

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Bowden B.V. Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines
Pitman, 1953. — 416 c. (английский язык)
История и введение в вычислительную технику (при участии Алана Тьюринга).
Отсутствует информация о Colossus'е и её создателе, Томми Флауэрсе, т.к. в 1953 году эти данные, как и вся деятельность Блетчли-Парк, были засекречены.
It is always a privilege to be present at the birth of a new discovery or invention in pure or applied science, a privilege which is at first accessible only to those actually engaged on the work concerned.
Preoccupation with the serious mental striving that is entailed in winning new knowledge leaves little time for writing popular accounts of what is being done, and the student who wishes to follow in the footsteps of the pioneers finds that he must delve through pages of highly technical literature written in a new and unfamiliar jargon by those who are doing work for those who are doing similar creative work in the same field. Gradually, however, the strain eases, the scaffolding is removed, and it becomes possible for students to see a little of the new building. Didactic exposition, with its own problems of what to teach and how to teach it, then begins.
Some four years ago, finding myself under the necessity of acquiring a certain limited knowledge of how Electronic Digital Computers function, I turned to the patent literature as the only comprehensive digest of information on the subject, one moreover written by draughtsmen whose special skill it is to effect an extreme clarity and precision of description. Notwithstanding the lucky circumstance of having this literature readily available, I found the mental struggle a severe one. Subsequent requests by colleagues to write a "child's guide to computers" left me acutely aware of how difficult the task was, and perusal of various popular expositions written since leaves me equally unsatisfied. I was therefore much interested when Dr. Bowden told me that he was producing a book on the subject himself.
It is undoubtedly the best general account yet written. There is something in it for everyone. For the general reader there is a fascinating account of the intellectual adventures of Charles Babbagc and Lady Lovelace a hundred years ago, while for the curious the problems involved in arranging for one of these machines to play chess or draughts are lucidly explained and illustrated by actual games which machines have played against men.
The more serious minded will, however, be able to delve a little deeper into the common symbolism in which arithmetic on the one hand and logic on the other are written, and to learn something of the binary scale in terms of which "machine thinking" proceeds. The physicist with a general knowledge of electronics will be interested in the account of some simple circuit elements which are basic in all machine designs, and the electronic engineer will find a most useful compendium on the detailed design of a number of the leading machines in this country written in each case by the designers themselves or their close associates.
The potential user will find his problems discussed at great length, problems that reside less in the design of the machines themselves than in how to utilize them as part of a commercial organization. Popular accounts, appearing in the Press and elsewhere, have suggested that no problem is beyond the wit of these Electronic Brains; this may be true, but as the author shows, the problem of how to apply them to specific tasks may well surpass the wit of man. These portions of the book display clearly both the opportunities which computers offer and the difficulties which are associated with them and which challenge the business executive who wishes to experiment with them. For good measure the author has thrown in the flow sheet of a P.A.Y.E. calculation.
Finally, for those who relish it, Dr. Bowden's mastery of the ludicrous interpolation is always lurking round the next page as an encouragement to read on.
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