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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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*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 pr ...more

Paperback, 372 pages

Published
June 1st 2008
by Wiley

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

*On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem*, with 'a bit' of commentary.

The paper is 36 pages, so the remaining 300+ pages are Charles Petzold's explanation of the paper. The book starts with explaining the (mathematical) context of the paper: what had come before, which problem it addressed, and some important mathematical tools and results required to understand the paper.

The paper itself is terse and dense, so e ...more

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

*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

Petzold demonstrates his knowledge of computing and mathematics and ...more

The only problem I had in reading this was not so much to do with Petzold (or Turing) but with the logical syntax and the way it is presented. There is such a sheer amount of symbols in this paper that ev ...more

That said, it's not an easy read. I have graduate degrees in mathematics, and have worked with computers for nearly 40 years, and still found parts of it challenging.

As there are already many reviews describing the kind of book this is, I won't go into detail, but will just list some parts th ...more

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

When I left Microsoft Research I had to take a long hard look at the books on my bookshelf (some read, some not) and decide which to take home and which to bin. This was in the 'take home' pile.

Turings work on computability is so famous, and so often sketched out, that—rather naively—I'd assumed the actual proof would be easy to follow. This book did a great job showing me how wrong I was, even tho ...more

*The Annotated Turing*: one, that Turing’s original paper, while insightful and difficult to parse, is also replete with errors, making it even harder to decipher; two, even Petzold doesn’t put that much effort into proving his annotated assertions. I have been looking forward to taking the time to read this book for almost nine years. It definitely has some good parts: It explains transcendental numbers, set theory, and notions of infinity in a way th ...more

I'm fascinated by Alan Turing's work and have wanted to dive into his historic paper for a long time. This was the perfect book for it.

Having majored in Computer Science and loving Theory of Computation gave me enough background to avoid frustration at the challenge of reading through Turing's words. On the other hand 'On Computable Numbers, With An Application To The Entscheidungsproblem' is indeed a mathematics paper. However, Charles Petzold's s ...more

In this book, The Author gives a nice introduction and background history of why Turing's paper is important. He also try to explain in details of what Turing was trying to convey in his paper. At the end of the book, The Author al ...more

The only reason (very personal reason) that I am not giving it 5 stars is that this is still not a good book as an introduction to Turing machine (which was what I bought it for). I was hoping the annotation would turn Turing's mystical presentation into something cleaner. It does, to some extent, but still not as good as more modern tex ...more

The short bits of history help a lot in understanding the reasoning behind the authors and how they may have reached their conclusions. They also act as short breaks between the explanations.

I think that this is a must-read for any CS undergraduate or graduate student. That said, I strongly believe that anybody that is curious enoug ...more

I can only wish ...more

I am no genius, I haven't found anything worth mentioning in the history of science but the fact that I am able to read through genius minds always fascinated me. Still does.

A journey through the mind of Alan Turing a legend an unspoken messiah of computer science. ...more

Also contains some interesting historical background info on what lead to this work.

The material is extremely complicated (at least for mere mortals like myself), but

the author does a great job a presenting it in a modern format that is accessible and engaging. ...more

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Charles Petzold has been writing about programming for Windows-based operating systems for 24 years. A Microsoft MVP for Client Application Development and a Windows Pioneer Award winner, Petzold is author of the classic

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129 likes · 5 comments

“Thus, 1 is actually a function with the two bound variables f and x. Just offhand, those two variables seem like two more variables than are needed to define a simple number.”
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0 likes

“In 1914 the German government

asked prominent scientists and artists to sign a declaration refuting the "lies and

slanders of the enemy". Hilbert could not determine whether these statements

made about Germany were true (a rather political Entscheidung problem), so he

refused to sign.”
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0 likes

More quotes…
asked prominent scientists and artists to sign a declaration refuting the "lies and

slanders of the enemy". Hilbert could not determine whether these statements

made about Germany were true (a rather political Entscheidung problem), so he

refused to sign.”