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By the end of the 1960s, a new discipline named computer science had come into being. A new scientific paradigm--the 'computational paradigm'--was in place, suggesting that computer science had reached a certain level of maturity. Yet as a science it was still precociously young. New forces, some technological, some socio-economic, some cognitive impinged upon it, the outc By the end of the 1960s, a new discipline named computer science had come into being. A new scientific paradigm--the 'computational paradigm'--was in place, suggesting that computer science had reached a certain level of maturity. Yet as a science it was still precociously young. New forces, some technological, some socio-economic, some cognitive impinged upon it, the outcome of which was that new kinds of computational problems arose over the next two decades. Indeed, by the beginning of the 1990's the structure of the computational paradigm looked markedly different in many important respects from how it was at the end of the 1960s. Author Subrata Dasgupta named the two decades from 1970 to 1990 as the second age of computer science to distinguish it from the preceding genesis of the science and the age of the Internet/World Wide Web that followed. This book describes the evolution of computer science in this second age in the form of seven overlapping, intermingling, parallel histories that unfold concurrently in the course of the two decades. Certain themes characteristic of this second age thread through this narrative: the desire for a genuine science of computing; the realization that computing is as much a human experience as it is a technological one; the search for a unified theory of intelligence spanning machines and mind; the desire to liberate the computational mind from the shackles of sequentiality; and, most ambitiously, a quest to subvert the very core of the computational paradigm itself. We see how the computer scientists of the second age address these desires and challenges, in what manner they succeed or fail and how, along the way, the shape of computational paradigm was altered. And to complete this history, the author asks and seeks to answer the question of how computer science shows evidence of progress over the course of its second age.


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By the end of the 1960s, a new discipline named computer science had come into being. A new scientific paradigm--the 'computational paradigm'--was in place, suggesting that computer science had reached a certain level of maturity. Yet as a science it was still precociously young. New forces, some technological, some socio-economic, some cognitive impinged upon it, the outc By the end of the 1960s, a new discipline named computer science had come into being. A new scientific paradigm--the 'computational paradigm'--was in place, suggesting that computer science had reached a certain level of maturity. Yet as a science it was still precociously young. New forces, some technological, some socio-economic, some cognitive impinged upon it, the outcome of which was that new kinds of computational problems arose over the next two decades. Indeed, by the beginning of the 1990's the structure of the computational paradigm looked markedly different in many important respects from how it was at the end of the 1960s. Author Subrata Dasgupta named the two decades from 1970 to 1990 as the second age of computer science to distinguish it from the preceding genesis of the science and the age of the Internet/World Wide Web that followed. This book describes the evolution of computer science in this second age in the form of seven overlapping, intermingling, parallel histories that unfold concurrently in the course of the two decades. Certain themes characteristic of this second age thread through this narrative: the desire for a genuine science of computing; the realization that computing is as much a human experience as it is a technological one; the search for a unified theory of intelligence spanning machines and mind; the desire to liberate the computational mind from the shackles of sequentiality; and, most ambitiously, a quest to subvert the very core of the computational paradigm itself. We see how the computer scientists of the second age address these desires and challenges, in what manner they succeed or fail and how, along the way, the shape of computational paradigm was altered. And to complete this history, the author asks and seeks to answer the question of how computer science shows evidence of progress over the course of its second age.

31 review for The Second Age of Computer Science: From Algol Genes to Neural Nets

  1. 5 out of 5

    BCS

    Toward the end of the 1960’s, the Association for Computing Machinery published “Curriculum 68”, a report prepared by leading researchers which documented the state of the computational paradigm. The publication of this report signaled that the field of computer science, young though it was, had reached a level of maturity. In this book, the author argues that the 1970’s and 80’s brought about such significant changes in and challenges to the computational paradigm as described in Curriculum 68, Toward the end of the 1960’s, the Association for Computing Machinery published “Curriculum 68”, a report prepared by leading researchers which documented the state of the computational paradigm. The publication of this report signaled that the field of computer science, young though it was, had reached a level of maturity. In this book, the author argues that the 1970’s and 80’s brought about such significant changes in and challenges to the computational paradigm as described in Curriculum 68, that the two epochs in the evolution of computer science could reasonably be termed respectively the first and second ages of computing. This book charts the history of the second age of computing. The author identifies several themes which permeate thinking in the second age. These include the quest for scientificity in computer science endeavours, considering computer science as a human-centred activity in contrast to the information-centric view espoused in Curriculum 68, escaping from strictly sequential computation and a desire to further and possibly unify our understanding of intelligence through computer science. The book’s content considers seven key aspects of computing which developed during the second age. The chapters do not form a chronology, but rather should be considered as parallel histories which relate to other aspects and themes through interwoven discourses. The book describes how researchers of the age interacted and how ideas evolved and were adopted across different domains, sometimes long after their origination. The narrative is too rich and detailed to summarise in a brief review such as this. However, as a flavour of the kind of topics that are discussed, we learn how programming language design influenced by Algol 60 lead to the emergence of object-oriented languages and languages targeted at virtual machines. We see how microprogramming enabled hardware to more closely map to programming languages. The book considers how researchers formulated ways of modelling data, designing programs, and proving that programs are correct, and how some of the problems of parallel programming could be addressed. A chapter is also devoted to exploring the emergence of artificial intelligence from initial interest in connectionist models and subsequent exploration of rules-based expert systems. The book concludes by reflecting on ways in which the second age demonstrated progress in terms of the themes that defined it. This is a well researched, well written and enjoyable book. Of necessity, the text considers a variety of disciplines, however, where required, in-line descriptions, simplifications and examples are given so the reader is not required to be fully conversant with details. The chapters are quite long, however they are structured into individually numbered and titled sections and are extensively referenced. The author also helps readers to navigate the text by providing useful references to sections within the book. This book should appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of computing. Review by Patrick Hill CEng MBCS CITP Originally published: https://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc...

  2. 5 out of 5

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  30. 5 out of 5

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    Tolga Karahan

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