A Science of Operations: Machines, Logic and the Invention by Mark Priestley

By Mark Priestley

Today, pcs fulfil a stunning array of roles, a flexibility as a result of the nice diversity of programsthat might be run on them.

A technology of Operations examines the historical past of what we now name programming, outlined no longer easily as computer programming, yet extra greatly because the definition of the stairs enthusiastic about computations and different information-processing actions. This distinct standpoint highlights how the heritage of programming is distinctive from the background of the pc, regardless of the shut dating among the 2 within the 20th century. The booklet additionally discusses how the improvement of programming languages is said to disparate fields which tried to offer a mechanical account of language at the one hand, and a linguistic account of machines at the other.

Topics and features:

  • Covers the early improvement of automated computing, together with Babbage’s “mechanical calculating engines” and the functions of punched-card technology
  • Examines the theoretical paintings of mathematical logicians comparable to Kleene, Church, publish and Turing, and the machines outfitted via Zuse and Aiken within the Thirties and 1940s
  • Discusses the function that common sense performed within the improvement of the kept software computer
  • Describes the “standard version” of machine-code programming popularised by means of Maurice Wilkes
  • Presents the total desk for the common Turing desktop within the Appendices
  • Investigates the increase of the projects geared toward constructing higher-level programming notations, and the way those got here to be regarded as ‘languages’ which may be studied independently of a machine
  • Examines the significance of the Algol 60 language, and the framework it supplied for learning the layout of programming languages and the method of software program development
  • Explores the early improvement of object-oriented languages, with a spotlight at the Smalltalk project

This interesting textual content deals a brand new perspective for historians of technological know-how and expertise, in addition to for the final reader. The ancient narrative builds the tale in a transparent and logical type, approximately following chronological order.

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Extra resources for A Science of Operations: Machines, Logic and the Invention of Programming

Sample text

The Origins of the Engine Babbage referred to a new engine in 1834, in a letter to the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington. Babbage explained that difficulties he had encountered in the construction of the Difference Engine had led to him having no access to the engineering drawings of that machine for two years. When he regained possession of the drawings, Babbage said, he “immediately began a re-examination and criticism of every part. 36 However, he gave no specific details of the new machine, and in fact seemed rather pessimistic about his chances of success in persuading the British Government to support its construction.

The results were handed on to the workers in the third section in the form of sheets “ruled with fifty horizontal lines . . and divided into a number of vertical columns according to the number of orders of differences which had to be written. 4 The workers in the third section could then complete the sheets by performing only additions and subtractions, as explained above. Once completed, the sheets were passed back to the second section for checking; this could be done without repeating the detailed calculations.

3 In order to apply the division of labour to computation, de Prony turned to a mathematical technique known as the method of differences. This method enabled complex logarithmic and trigonometric functions to be calculated by employing only the much simpler operations of addition and subtraction. Suppose, for example, that it is required to calculate the values of the formula f (x) = x 2 + x + 41. 1. The first differences, shown in the column headed Δ1 , are found by calculating the difference between two adjacent values of the function.

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