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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Computer and the Brain

The Computer and the Brain by John von Neumann, a pioneer of computing is a very interesting historical read.

The book is essentially divided into two sections. The first is an overview of what a "computer" is and how it works, the second a comparison of computing technology with the brain.

It is amazing how relevant the first section of the book is in relation to computing today. Von Neumann's account is only tainted by slight changes in technical vocabulary and major improvements in performance over the past 50 years; the fundamental theory is all there and it is fascinating to hear it in his own words.

The second section raised some very interesting comparisons in a very clear and concise manor. However I did feel that the coverage could have been a lot deeper, the reason for this is probably the authors ill health at the time of writing though. I would be interested in reading a more modern approach at the same comparison, both to see if it has changed at all (are Von Neumann's biological facts still sound and complete according to modern day Biology?) and to delve further into the subject.

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