The New Turing Omnibus is the followup book to the The Turing Omnibus.Both are written by A.K. Dewdney, a computer science professor at the University of Western Ontario (at least he was at the time of publication in 1996).

The book itself is essentially a layman's guide (although you have to be reasonably intelligent and actually interested in the subject. The book isn't for everyone) to computer science. I myself picked it up around sometime in junior high (at which time most of it made no sense) and over time, as my education has increased, more of it has been useful to understanding concepts I have encountered in my computer science curriculum as well as knowledge that just seems interesting.

The book itself is made up of 66 chapters or "excursions" as the author refers to them:

1 Algorithms 2 Finite Automata 3 Systems of Logic 4 Simulation 5 Godel's Theorem 6 Game Trees 7 The Chomsky Hierarchy 8 Random Numbers 9 Mathematical Research 10 Program Correctness 11 Search Trees 12 Error-Corecting Codes 13 Boolean Logic 14 Regular Languages 15 Time and Space Complexity 16 Genetic Algorithms 17 The Random Access Machine 18 Spline Curves 19 Computer Vision 20 Karnaugh Maps 21 The Newton-Raphson Method 22 Minimum Spanning Trees 23 Generative Grammars 24 Recursion 25 Fast Multiplication 26 Nondeterminism 27 Perceptrons 28 Encoders and Multiplexers 29 CAT Scanning 30 The Partition Problem 31 Turing Machines 32 The Fast Fourier Transform 33 Analog Computing 34 Satisfiability 35 Sequential Sorting 36 Neural Networks That Learn 37 Public Key Cryptography 38 Sequential Cirucits 39 Noncomputerable Functions 40 Heaps and Merges 41 NP-Completeness 42 Number Systems for Computing 43 Storage by Hashing 44 Cellular Automata 45 Cook's Theorem 46 Self-Replicating Computers 47 Storing Images 48 The SCRAM 49 Shannon's Theory 50 Detecting Primes 51 Universal Turing Machines 52 Text Compression 53 Disk Operating Systems 54 NP-Complete Problems 55 Iteration and Recursion 56 VLSI Computers 57 Linear Programming 58 Predicate Calculus 59 The Halting Problem 60 Computer Viruses 61 Searching Strings 62 Parallel Computing 63 The Word Problem 64 Logic Programming 65 Relational Data Bases 66 Church's Thesis

Any of you computer science folks out there should recognize many of these topics. I would highly recommend the book as a basic reference or if some of the concepts didn't quite "click" for you in your coursework. Some of the first coding I did, on a Tandy 1000 Color in BASIC, was from the first chapter on Algorithms which involves a cool little "wallpaper" graphics program.

Each chapter includes problems and reference for further information. Essentially, it could very easily be used as a textbook for some sort of survey course.


Fixed some links (November 13, 2002)

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