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

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  244 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Programming Legend Charles Petzold unlocks the secrets of the extraordinary and prescient 1936 paper by Alan M. TuringMathematician 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 ...more
Paperback, 372 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by John Wiley & Sons
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Deirdre
Wouldn't you like to know the outcome of your actions before you decide what to do? Looking into the future, you could see if biting that apple was a good idea or something completely different and unexpected.

However, there's no way through it but to do it.

Well mathematicians and computer programmers have the same problem. British mathematician, Alan Turing, proved that there is no way a computer can be designed with the correct set of instructions (program) so as to be able to determine if any
...more
Nick Black
Amazon 2008-10-24. This book needed to decide earlier on whether it was going to be pop-CS or a real book. There's some great insights here -- I finally feel that I truly know the difference now, in a deep sense, of what makes a given transcendental number computable or not (there's unfortunately rather little detail on computable functions themselves, but that's an easy extension from computable numbers). Kudos to Petzold for his fine background material on Hilbert's erweiterte Funktionenkalkul ...more
Stuart
This is one of those books that is so deep that I doubt anyone can read it cover to cover without having to go back and puzzle over the contents of some of the chapters. It is intended as a commentary on Turing's paper which, in some ways, due to the notation Turing uses, is more difficult to understand than it needs to be. Petzold plows through this giving several lines of commentary and examples to each line of Turing's paper.

Petzold demonstrates his knowledge of computing and mathematics and
...more
Shital
It was about 10 years ago when I first found Turing's original paper on Internet and thought it wouldn't be so hard to read and understand it (after all its "mere" computer science). Since then I've tried to digest it quite a few times on and off and never actually succeeded. Infect most of the time I got stuck on few nitty-gritty and just couldn't move forward. I have even bought/borrowed almost all books on the subject that falls in to "popular science" types. Needless to say, like many such b ...more
Dale
This is a wonderful book. Petzold does a line by line exegesis of Turing's 1936 paper on computability, explaining the historical and mathematical background, and showing illustrative examples. The book is probably most interesting to computer programmers, but would also be of interest to anyone interested in mathematics or the history of computer technology. Having attempted to read Turing's paper several years ago, I found that this book really closed my gaps in understanding.
Zach
Very useful for making it through Turing's famous (and dense) paper. Petzold sets the context for the paper and draws out its implications for thought. Turing invented the Turing machine on his way to showing that there is no general decision procedure for determining the logical validity of a statement. You may not care about all the math needed to get to this point, but it's there if you want it.
Roy
Nov 22, 2014 Roy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: math
This could have been fascinating; but, rambling, unfocused, distracted, and verbose, it's signature Petzold, the man who, more than anyone else, set the standard for dumbed-down and confused technical writing. Like his previous works (Code, and the several programming books of his I've tried), this one will remain unfinished. Someone should tell him to stop!
Jeff
outstanding refresher on how math theory lead to computing. makes the seminal turing paper understandable.
Jef
This book turns Turing's rather terse paper into a great introduction to computable real numbers.
David
This book has a 10:1 ratio of annotations to Turing's original paper. That's a considerable increase. But there's no wasted space here. The biography of Alan Turing is very short. Only the bare minimum of each mathematical subject is explained (Diophantine equations, number theory, sets, lambda calculus). In short, Petzold added just the right amount of notes for a non-mathematician like myself to actually understand every single word of Turning's original 36 page paper.

It seems that I am practi
...more
David
In this book, Charles Petzold guides the reader through Alan Turing's famous paper on computability, which introduced the world to what is now known as the "Turing machine".

Along the way, in this pleasantly written book, the author places the paper in a historical setting, which in part extends back to the Greek mathematician Diophantus, and provides numerous insights into the development of ideas that led up to Turing's paper, as well as numerous anecdotes of Turing's brief career. Turing's ca
...more
Kam-Yung Soh
An impressive book that gives you an annotated guide through Turing's historic paper on computation. It starts with a background in mathematics and number theory, defining various concepts that are required to understand the paper.

Next, the author covers probably the part that most interest me: Turing machines. Turing shows how such machines can be used to perform computation and, in an impressive series of steps, shows how a Universal machine can be used to execute the operations of any Turing
...more
ila
The Annotated Turing �� una lettura piuttosto difficile per via di una certa complessit�� "matematica" di una intera sezione del libro: per�� �� lo stesso una lettura affascinante per come riesce a guidare il lettore all'interno di una serie di discussioni lunghe diversi decenni legate anche al mondo dell'informatica. Lo consiglio se vi interessa la materia.
Amar Pai
I was interested to learn that the term "Halting Problem" does not actually appear in Turing's paper.

Indeed, his definition of "computable" applied to numbers is sort of the opposite: a computable number is a number that can be expressed as the output of a program that never stops printing digits (i.e. pi is computable because you can write a Turing number representing a program that prints 3.1415... etc to an arbitrary # degrees precision.) By this definition all real numbers are computable. (
...more
to'c
An excellent book and a compelling read. Primarily, obvious from the title, a deep dive into Turing's seminal paper the book goes far afield onto the maths necessary to understand the problem and beyond. So, while no previous technical or mathematical knowledge is strictly required the books will mainly appeal to those of that mindset.

Except for the penultimate chapter, "Is Everything A Turing Machine?" Petzold takes us through a tour of mathematical and philosophical history eventually conflat
...more
Matthew Haney
I absolutely love this book, but a lot of the logic and notation that is used by Turing is difficult to comprehend, particularly towards the end. Even the authors explanations don't help too greatly, and his "simplified" computations are just as complicated as Turing's.

I'd recommend it to anyone who (like me) is interested in trying to program a Turing machine or (not like me) is VERY well-versed and interested in logic and computational analysis. Otherwise, this book will take you a year to rea
...more
John
This book is exactly what it says it is, a very well annotated version of the paper where Alan Turing introduced the machine that bears his name and sketched the limits of computing. The full text of the paper is included, set apart from the explanations and background research by a shaded background. The explanations are detailed and clear. The historical background information is relevant and interesting. In under 400 pages the reader is led to understanding one of the most important academic ...more
Rik Eberhardt
So far (7 Dec 02008) I've finished the introduction and have started in on the meat - Turing's paper itself. The first few chapters were great - basically, a quick recap of algebra and set theory. I'll update once I finish - I kinda got sidetracked into reading Cryptonomicon (I've owned it since 01999 but never got around to reading it).
Jason Dew
Very good book on Turing's famous paper but my favorite part was the ancillary coverage of mathematicians and computer scientists that were influenced by the Turing machine.
croson
Entscheidungsproblem!!! gave up half way through, but i still think i might have learned a little bit. Petzold's other book "Code" is my favorite computer book.
gargamelscat
A fantastic exposition of a crucially important though relatively obscure fundamental of computer science.


Jean-Luc
A must read for every computer scientist.
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