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Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers by John MacCormick at Abbey's Bookshop,

Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers

John MacCormick Chris Bishop


Princeton University Pres

Mathematics & Sciences;
Popular science;
Algorithms & data structures


248 pages

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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.

By:   John MacCormick
Foreword by:   Chris Bishop
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   514g
ISBN:   9780691147147
ISBN 10:   0691147140
Pages:   248
Publication Date:   January 2012
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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

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.

Most people know little and care less about how, say, electronic payments are kept secure or how movies are crammed onto DVDs. But as MacCormick shows, they're the result of often stunning ingenuity and creativity... For insights into the thinking that can turn gigabytes into gigabucks, start here. -- Robert Matthews, BBC Focus [MacCormick] masterfully uses everyday analogies in a way that gets to the heart of the ideas (he calls them tricks) that make the algorithms work. While this is essential for readers without mathematical background, the other lesson that jumps out is that this is a great way to introduce these algorithms to mathematics and computer science students who will go on to more in-depth treatments... This excellent survey is an outstanding achievement and would make an excellent library acquisition. -- Art Gittleman, MAA Reviews MacCormick leaves the reader with a sense of the engine that powers the networked world. And at its best, Nine Algorithms enables you to recognise the real world and begin to see those algorithms alive and kicking all around us. -- Kevin Slavin, New Scientist

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