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Turing's Vision: The Birth of Computer Science

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In 1936, when he was just twenty-four years old, Alan Turing wrote a remarkable paper in which he outlined the theory of computation, laying out the ideas that underlie all modern computers. This groundbreaking and powerful theory now forms the basis of computer science. In Turing's Vision, Chris Bernhardt explains the theory, Turing's most important contribution, for the ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 13th 2016 by Mit Press
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Peter Mcloughlin
Short but gentle introduction to the central ideas of computing developed by Turing in the 1930s and 40s. It covers the crisis of Mathematics at the turn of the century and the development of finite automata and develops the idea of a Turing machine which is much more powerful. It also covers the halting problem and how it is related to Godel undecidability. Surprising sweep for such a short concise book.
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book breaks down Turing's approach to computation, and in doing so gives a glimpse into what "universal computers" really are. I believe this book should be required reading in any high-school math class, anyone who is wondering if computer science is right for them, of anyone wondering why some problems are easy for computers while others are hard. This is written for a regular person, not a computer scientist. There's a bit of logical reasoning and even some counting! in the book, but ...more
Jess Sohn
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I failed this book. Despite my sincere interest in math, logic, and Turing, I was not able to get the most out of Bernhardt's deftly written explanation of Turing's all important thesis. I am not ashamed to say that a smarter person or a more dedicated reader than myself, particularly in the field of math or logic or computer science, will probably fly through this. I have great respect for Bernhardt's commitment to translating this dense subject for a person who is unfamiliar with the field. ...more
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent primer for curious people, who do not have a technical background, to know about who Alan Turing was and what his contribution was to the modern technical landscape. We owe a great debt to his genius for inventing the "theoretical computers" which he called the "universal machines" which started the genesis of all modern computing devices; almost every gadget in sight, our computers, phones and other digital systems.

Most people know Alan Turing as the code-breaker, who shorted the WWII
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bernhardt does an admirable job of demonstrating and explaining the huge contributions Alan Turing made to both mathematics (especially set and number theory) and the foundation of what we now call computer science. The math and logic are not particularly “difficult” to understand, but I hadn’t encountered much of the notation (sets especially) and thinking (mathematical proofs) since high school math class. The implications of Turing’s logical mathematical arguments are stunning, especially as ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bernhardt did a great job of providing a great overview of computational theory, specifically the vast influence that Turing had on the field. I particularly enjoyed the way certain proofs were explained using easy to understand examples, before the official proof was introduced. I also enjoyed the asides throughout the whole book.

That being said, I do have a CS background, and do not think I would have been able as nicely without it. But given the difficulty of the topic, Bernhardt does a
Shozab Qasim
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book will give immense pleasure to anyone interested in the field of Theoretical Computer Science. With a brief introduction with regards to the works of mathematical logic by Russell, Hilbert and Godel, then moving on to topics such as finite automata, Turing machines, undecidable problems and finally countable numbers, this book provides a remarkable introduction to the methods employed by Turing to answer the question of the Entscheidungsproblem.
Peter Corke
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I knew a lot of the Bletchley history and had read the imitation game paper, but never read the computable numbers paper. This book covers that in a very accessible way for a non computer scientist. Turing machines, encodings and the halting problem.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: math
interesante resumen de las ideas principales, algunas demostraciones confusas, nada muy nuevo pero bien trabado, podría profundizar más
Shawn Aebi
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Much of the book is unreadable for someone without an advanced degree. The historical anecdotes are sporadically interspersed and helpful but the magnitude of Turing's impact is not truly felt.
Alon Cohen
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superb. A fabulous introduction to Theory of Computation. As Turing elegantly laid the foundations of Computer Science, Bernhardt elegantly explains those foundations. Highly recommend
Q. D.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computer-science
Wonderful intro to Turing’s On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem.
Erika Fermin
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: computer-science
3 stars
because i wanted more in depth info on hid life not what i learn in class. but this would be a great review
Kadir Korkmaz
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cameron E. Wild
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you ever wanted to have in insight into pure genius, this book is for you.
Gowtham Kaki
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A remarkably lucid (yet sufficiently rigorous) commentary on Turing’s landmark 1936 paper that introduced computing machines. This book helped me finally internalize Turing’s insights.
Dr Kamlesh
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chris has written an awesome piece of book here. The writing style is fabulous. The research for book is thorough and the flow is intact. Strongly recommended to all readers.
Nick Ziegler
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book contains many wonderful proofs; for example, proof that I will never understand computer science or most mathematics beyond high school level. However, I was grateful for this brief and generous opportunity to stand on the threshold of the subjects and, if not understand, at least gain some familiarity. The prose reads like it was written by a mathematician, which it was; and the historical portions are not very good, by history standards. But the unadorned and telegraphic style is ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Alan Turing is a much known and celebrated figure in the world of computing. He is credited as being one of the founding fathers of computer science. Many will know of him from the famous Turing test which attempts to assess a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.

Turing's most important intellectual work is his paper ‘On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungs problem’, published in 1936. If you've ever
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Kleene showed that any given regular expression you can design a finite automaton to accept just the strings defined by the expression. He also showed the converse that, given any finite automaton, the strings that it accepts can be described by a regular expression. In this sense, we can describe regular expressions and finite automata as equivalent. They both describe exactly the same set of strings." (39)

"Anything that can be computed can be computed by a Turing machine." (62)

"'A man
In which it is shown to us why do we need science — how approaching what would seems to be a pure scientific, yet fundamental problem yields practical application on which our modern civilization relies on. And what is the genius of Alan Turing — who solved this problem and used results of this work for a practical application.

Perfect concise historical and mathematical overview of computational theory and Turing’s contribution.
Andrew Ma
Dec 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Oh god, the introduction said that this was pitched at the general reader only requiring a basic understanding of high school maths. My arse it is.

Too hard for my brain. Perhaps the General Reader is equated to a precocious 13 year old Logician/Wizard.

Nice cover tho. Text that covers the entire subject's face is still impactful and somewhat shocking.

Ultimately I'm disappointed I won't learn too all the things about maths and computers and stuff and things.
Dave Maddock
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, math, computing
This is a very lucid and engaging primer for the ideas behind Turing's famous paper that first outlined what has come to be called "Turing Machines." Bernhardt does a pretty good job of presenting quite difficult content in a way that an interested layman can follow.

In other news, the copy editing was terrible.
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