BKCALMCH.RVW 940926
"Calculating Machines", Hartree, 1984, 026081474, U$32.50
%A Douglas R. Hartree
%C 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, MA 02142-1399
%D 1984
%E Martin Campbell-Kelly
%G 026081474
%I The MIT Press
%O U$32.50 curtin@mit.edu
%P 200
%S Charles Babbage Institute Reprint Series, (Vol. VI)
%T "Calculating Machines"
The Charles Babbage Institute, and MIT Press, are to be commended on the choice
of this classic for reprint. The work at first glance would seem an unlikely
candidate: a lecture, and lecture series, by a mathematical physicist with an
interest in calculators. An overview of the work in progress on designing the
very earliest of what we would now call computers.
The lectures were designed for an audience with a sophisticated grasp of
mathematics and physics, and sections of the text are dense with equations.
Overall, however, the book is a fascinating history of the development of
calculating machinery. Not only does it provide solid information on ENIAC,
and other machines of that time, but also substantial analysis of Charles
Babbage's own work. As well, a number of "forgotten" devices are resurrected
here. Many are examples of analogue computers.
An excellent volume, salutarily humbling to those of us who *thought* we knew
our computing history.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1994 BKCALMCH.RVW 940926
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