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"The Universal Computer" Free Chapter

Download Chapter 1 from The Universal Computer: The Road from Leibniz to Turing, Third Edition by Martin Davis

The story begins with Leibniz in the 17th century and then focuses on Boole, Frege, Cantor Hilbert, and Gödel, before turning to Turing. Turing’s analysis of algorithmic processes led to a single, all-purpose machine that could be programmed to carry out such processes—the computer. Davis describes how this incredible group, with lives as extraordinary as their accomplishments, grappled with logical reasoning and its mechanization. By investigating their achievements and failures, he shows how these pioneers paved the way for modern computing.

Bringing the material up to date, this revised edition features a much expanded version of the discussion of artificial intelligence and current technology, and the way it confirms the significance of Turing’s pencil-and-paper universal machine with infinite memory and unlimited time for computations. More is written about the events at Princeton involving Alonzo Church (who was the doctoral advisor of Davis as well as Turing), Stephen Kleene, and Kurt Gödel that led Turing to come there. Finally, further exploration of the relationship between Kronecker and Cantor can also be found.

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