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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 18 Number 2 -- Reviews

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129940D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 20K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

PEGGY KIDWELL: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The Reviews department includes reviews of publications, films, audio and videotapes and exhibits relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of technical, economic, business, social, and institutional aspects or other works of interest to Annals readers are briefly noted, with appropriate bibliographic information.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 31% of the total text.

Page 1 of 3

THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1996 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Reviews

PEGGY KIDWELL, EDITOR

The Reviews department includes reviews of publications, films, audio and videotapes and exhibits relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of technical, economic, business, social, and institutional aspects or other works of interest to Annals readers are briefly noted, with appropriate bibliographic information.

Colleagues are encouraged to recommend works they wish to review and to suggest titles to the Reviews editor.

Maurice V. Wilkes, Computing Perspectives. San Francisco: Morgan Kauffman Publishers, Inc., 1995, ISBN 1-55860-317-4, 205 pp., $24.95, paperback.

Computing Perspectives is a very enjoyable collection of essays. It is beautifully and tastefully produced. Anyone who has met Maurice Wilkes will hear him speaking through the pages of Computing Perspectives. The style is personal and aimed at those with some familiarity with computers. In many ways it is like a conversation, albeit a one-sided one, with Wilkes himself. The 23 black and white illustrations gently support the text and increase the personal feel of the book.

In the preface, Wilkes acknowledges that different people see events and advances in technology differently -- each having a "personal perspective." His aim in this collection of essays, many of which have been previously published in various guises and are updated for this book, is to encourage readers to form their own perspective on past and future developments.

Computing Perspectives covers a wide range of subjects in the computer science field. It begins with three essays which present a very succinct history of computers. Of these three historical essays the first, "Charles Babbage -- The Great Uncle of Computing," is much the best. It draws together history, opinion, and personal experience, and clearly illustrates why, in Wilkes' view, Babbage should not be regarded as the father of computing but rather a near relative. The other two history essays, "The Beginnings of Electronic Computers," and "The Development of the Stored Program Computer," give fairly good historical insight, and Wilkes wisely avoids being drawn into the much discussed Eckert- Mauchly-von Neumann controversy about credit for the stored program concept. Wilkes does, however. give a good description of the stored program principle -- what it is, and how it was different from what went before. This was a point worth making as today so many take this concept for granted.

The next ten essays are devoted to hardware and software developments and present both explanation and opinion. The essays cover personal computers, workstations, RISC, VLSI, processor design tools, parallelism, programmers, programming languages, operating systems, AI, and industrial research. In each case the topic is set withi...