*Turing’s Cathedral*

The author is George Dyson and the subtitle is The Origins of the Digital Universe.  It is a first-rate, splendid book, causing us to rethink the origins of computing systems, the connections between early computers and nuclear weapons systems, how to motivate geniuses, and also the career of John von Neumann.  Here is one excerpt, I may be giving you more:

In 1943, Bigelow left MIT, reassigned by Warren Weaver to the NDRC Applied Mathematics Panel’s Statistical Research Group.  Under the auspices of Columbia University, eighteen mathematicians and statisticians — including Jacob Wolfowitz, Harold Hotelling, George Stigler, Abraham Wald, and the future economist Milton Friedman — tackled a wide range of wartime problems, starting with the question of “whether it would be better to have eight 50 caliber machine guns on a fighter plane or four 20 millimeter guns.”

Here is one Francis Spufford article about the book.  Definitely recommended.


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