Hot Best Seller

The Armchair Universe: An Exploration of Computer Worlds

Availability: Ready to download

A collection of A.K. Dewdney's columns from Scientific American lets the reader try dozens of recreations, from sci-fi games to intergalactic graphics to practical applications of scientific thought. A collection of A.K. Dewdney's columns from Scientific American lets the reader try dozens of recreations, from sci-fi games to intergalactic graphics to practical applications of scientific thought.


Compare

A collection of A.K. Dewdney's columns from Scientific American lets the reader try dozens of recreations, from sci-fi games to intergalactic graphics to practical applications of scientific thought. A collection of A.K. Dewdney's columns from Scientific American lets the reader try dozens of recreations, from sci-fi games to intergalactic graphics to practical applications of scientific thought.

30 review for The Armchair Universe: An Exploration of Computer Worlds

  1. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    First there was Martin Gardener, then there was Doug Hofstadter, then here was...this Dewdney dude. They were successive writers of the "recreational" column in Scientific American. Dewdney's was "Computer Recreations" and here they are, neatly collected up in a book and updated, too! Except the column ran from 1984-86 and my brother helpful scrawled "1988" in his copy - so it's hideously out-of-date now. There isn't a topic in here that hasn't advanced enormously in the intervening time, perhap First there was Martin Gardener, then there was Doug Hofstadter, then here was...this Dewdney dude. They were successive writers of the "recreational" column in Scientific American. Dewdney's was "Computer Recreations" and here they are, neatly collected up in a book and updated, too! Except the column ran from 1984-86 and my brother helpful scrawled "1988" in his copy - so it's hideously out-of-date now. There isn't a topic in here that hasn't advanced enormously in the intervening time, perhaps most alarmingly in the discussion of malware, which provoked some readers to write their own disc or network propagated viruses! That said, because these are recreations, the book has in an important sense not gone out of date; one can still have a go at implementing the simple and not so simple programs discussed oneself - which is the point of these columns, after all - just don't expect to be contributing to the cutting edge of any of these topics anymore. Some topics were more interesting than others but I think individual opinions on which are most engaging will vary a lot. It's a diverse collection ranging from chaos theory and fractals to mathematical automata (which are a lot more fun than they sound) to simulated zombies and banks to anagrams and pangrams to the aforementioned malware and simple genetic algorithms (which interested me a lot). The coding challenges seem to become greater as the book progresses but one need not try any of them in order to derive some amusement from this collection - one can live vicariously through the author's discussion of the efforts of the readers of the original articles and see how they got on.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin Ramsay

    A really fun read. I’m not familiar with computer programming, so I found the long coding descriptions a bit hard to get through, but overall with a sound enough knowledge of mathematical and scientific principles I was able to enjoy the descriptions of the various computer “worlds”. There are so many beautiful patterns and phenomena to be found in both the digital realm and the natural world, and this book deals with both!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Gillespie

    "The Armchair Universe: An Exploration of Computer Worlds" is a charming collection of Scientific American columns from the pen of mathematician and computer scientist Alex Dewdney. The columns describe, in accessible language and with illustrations, a veritable smorgasbord of mathematical and computational novelties--varying from well-popularized topics such as the Mandelbrot set and Conway's game of life to less-known gadgets, algorithms and simulations. The book is somewhat dated, having been "The Armchair Universe: An Exploration of Computer Worlds" is a charming collection of Scientific American columns from the pen of mathematician and computer scientist Alex Dewdney. The columns describe, in accessible language and with illustrations, a veritable smorgasbord of mathematical and computational novelties--varying from well-popularized topics such as the Mandelbrot set and Conway's game of life to less-known gadgets, algorithms and simulations. The book is somewhat dated, having been published in 1988, but the contents are still engaging and relevant as a starting-point for many more-modern notions in theoretical computer science. I had the opportunity to read this compilation in high school, when I found the understated tome in a box of books that a family friend was giving away. As a collection of columns, it is the sort of book that affords casual perusal, and indeed over the next month or so I casually perused that copy--tenaciously. I just couldn't help myself! The columns are addictively-formulated bite-sized morsels of abstract computer goodness! Section by section, this book gave me one of my first glimpses into the hidden subtle world of computation and logic--and twelve years later I'm now a graduate student in theoretical mathematics, so beware! This book is a captivatingly grand trip down a computational rabbit-hole, and I eagerly encourage the curious reader to give it a look.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bernard Schmitz

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Metcalf

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gregg

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Kaplan

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Bartels

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mr Richard M Marsden

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paul Matthews

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike Lietz

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Plata

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mei Dean Favela

  15. 4 out of 5

    psikonauta

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Allen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Peterson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ken Gentle

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joey

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mathew

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gianluca Insolvibile

  22. 4 out of 5

    Juk

  23. 5 out of 5

    Luca Masters

  24. 5 out of 5

    Terry

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steven Stadnicki

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bricoleur (David) Soul

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Keys

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brad Polant

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...