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February 2015 Vol. 52 No. 6

CRC Press Inc

The following review appeared in the February 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Science & Technology
Information & Computer Science

2013-49662 CIP
Computing: a historical and technical perspective, by Yoshihide Igarashi et al. CRC Press, 2014. 332p ISBN 9781482227413 pbk, $59.95; ISBN 9781482227420 ebook, $59.95.

Every field has a common background that is considered folklore, passed down to novices from practitioners.  This book by Igarashi (Gunma Univ., Japan) and colleagues is a compendium of the folklore of computer science related in 31 short chapters.  A major thread is the representation of numbers (and the meaning of number) from the time of the caveman through Fibonacci to modern representations, including Boolean and modular.  Of course, the authors cover calculation with these numbers and the development of algorithms, including the limitations discovered by Gödel and Turing.  There is some history of the development of machines (computers) to carry out these calculations and of the languages used to specify these calculations.  A number of topics receive brief coverage: codes and cryptography, artificial intelligence, parallel and network computing, and even quantum computing.  Some of this history may not be reliable because it is based on web sources rather than original or respected research.  This book is written at a reasonable level for undergraduates and some (or all) of the chapters could be assigned as supplemental reading for a variety of computer science courses.

--P. Cull, Oregon State University

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates.