Computation and its Limits

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Computation and its Limits is an innovative cross-disciplinary investigation of the relationship between computing and physical reality. It begins by exploring the mystery of why mathematics is so effective in science and seeks to explain this in terms of the modelling of one part of physical reality by another. Going from the origins of counting to the most blue-skies proposals for novel methods of computation, the authors investigate the extent to which the laws of nature and of logic constrain what we can compute. In the process they examine formal computability, the thermodynamics of computation, and the promise of quantum computing.
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About the author

Paul Cockshott was educated at McMaster, Manchester, Heriot-Watt, and Edinburgh Universities. He trained originally as an economist and continues to be interested in the area. He later studied computer science, obtaining his PhD in the same from Edinburgh University. Dr Cockshott has worked in industry for ICL on hardware verification and for Memex on the design of database machines. He has also been a research worker and lecturer at the universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Glasgow, and Strathclyde. He is currently Reader in Computer Science at the University of Glasgow. Lewis M. Mackenzie is a Senior Lecturer in Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. His research interests are in machine architectures and the performance modelling of communication systems. Dr Mackenzie's recently published work has involved the modelling of traffic patterns in a variety of scenarios from regular wormhole-switched multi-computer interconnects to mobile ad-hoc wireless networks (MANETs). Greg Michaelson studied Computer Science at the University of Essex and the University of St Andrews, working as a real-time programmer at Scottish Gas in between. He then taught at Napier College and the University of Glasgow, before joining Heriot-Watt University in 1983, where he gained his PhD. He was Head of Computer Science from 2003-8 and promoted to Professor in 2006. Dr Michaelson's research interests encompass formally motivated computing, in particular the design, implementation, and analysis of programming languages for multi-process systems. He published his first novel in 2008.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Mar 15, 2012
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Pages
248
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ISBN
9780191627491
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Computer Science
Mathematics / Discrete Mathematics
Mathematics / Logic
Science / General
Science / Physics / General
Science / Physics / Mathematical & Computational
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The NATO Advanced study Institute (ASI) on "Computational Aspects of Complex Analysis" was held at Braunlage/Harz (Germany) from July 26 to August 6, 1982. These proceedings contain the invited lectures presented at this institute, the aim of which was to bring together scientists from pure and applied mathematics as well as computer scientists. The main topics were problems dealing with approximation and interpolation by polynomial and rational functions (in particular Pade approximation), numerical methods for the solution of algebraic equations and differential equations, the large field of conformal mapping, aspects of computer imple mentation of complex arithmetic and calculations based on complex variable techniques. The sessions on short communications not only provided a platform for the presentation of contributions by the participants of the ASI but also the opportunity to discuss the material more thoroughly, to bring up open problems and to point out the inter relationship of the above mentioned topics. Quite naturally the short communications grouped around the topics of the main lectures. The stimulating atmosphere caused many discussions to continue privately for hours. Even out of the social program there emanated two short communications by L. Wuytack and L. Trefethen, which are included at the end of these proceedings. We gratefully appreciate the support of the International Advisory Committee that was formed by L. Collatz, Germany, C. Brezinski, France, G. Golub, U.S.A., P. Henrici, Switzerland, J. van Hulzen, the Netherlands, O. Skovgaard, Denmark, I. Sneddon, United Kingdom, and J. Todd, U.S.A.
Enabling Technologies for Computational Science assesses future application computing needs, identifies research directions in problem-solving environments (PSEs), addresses multi-disciplinary environments operating on the Web, proposes methodologies and software architectures for building adaptive and human-centered PSEs, and describes the role of symbolic computing in scientific and engineering PSEs. The book also includes an extensive bibliography of over 400 references.
Enabling Technologies for Computational Science illustrates the extremely broad and interdisciplinary nature of the creation and application of PSEs. Authors represent academia, government laboratories and industry, and come from eight distinct disciplines (chemical engineering, computer science, ecology, electrical engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering, psychology and wood sciences). This breadth and diversity extends into the computer science aspects of PSEs. These papers deal with topics such as artificial intelligence, computer-human interaction, control, data mining, graphics, language design and implementation, networking, numerical analysis, performance evaluation, and symbolic computing.
Enabling Technologies for Computational Science provides an assessment of the state of the art and a road map to the future in the area of problem-solving environments for scientific computing. This book is suitable as a reference for scientists from a variety of disciplines interested in using PSEs for their research.
The book serves as a first introduction to computer programming of scientific applications, using the high-level Python language. The exposition is example and problem-oriented, where the applications are taken from mathematics, numerical calculus, statistics, physics, biology and finance. The book teaches "Matlab-style" and procedural programming as well as object-oriented programming. High school mathematics is a required background and it is advantageous to study classical and numerical one-variable calculus in parallel with reading this book. Besides learning how to program computers, the reader will also learn how to solve mathematical problems, arising in various branches of science and engineering, with the aid of numerical methods and programming. By blending programming, mathematics and scientific applications, the book lays a solid foundation for practicing computational science.

From the reviews: Langtangen ... does an excellent job of introducing programming as a set of skills in problem solving. He guides the reader into thinking properly about producing program logic and data structures for modeling real-world problems using objects and functions and embracing the object-oriented paradigm. ... Summing Up: Highly recommended.

F. H. Wild III, Choice, Vol. 47 (8), April 2010

Those of us who have learned scientific programming in Python ‘on the streets’ could be a little jealous of students who have the opportunity to take a course out of Langtangen’s Primer.”
John D. Cook, The Mathematical Association of America, September 2011

This book goes through Python in particular, and programming in general, via tasks that scientists will likely perform. It contains valuable information for students new to scientific computing and would be the perfect bridge between an introduction to programming and an advanced course on numerical methods or computational science.
Alex Small, IEEE, CiSE Vol. 14 (2), March /April 2012

“This fourth edition is a wonderful, inclusive textbook that covers pretty much everything one needs to know to go from zero to fairly sophisticated scientific programming in Python...”
Joan Horvath, Computing Reviews, March 2015

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