Cover image for Computers Ltd. : what they really can't do
Computers Ltd. : what they really can't do
Harel, David, 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvii, 221 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QA76.5 .H3575 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Advance praise for Computers Ltd. 'An enlightening and entertaining explanation, written by a profound computer scientist and master expositor. A must read for inquisitive minds.' Michael Rabin, Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University. Computers are incredible. They are one of the most important inventions of the 20th century, dramatically and irrevocably changing the way we live. That is the good news. The bad news is that there are still major limitations to computers, serious problems that not even the biggest, most powerfulcomputers can solve. The consequences of such limitations can be serious. Too often these limits get overlooked, in the quest for bigger, better, and more powerful computers. In Computers Ltd, David Harel, best-selling author of Algorithmics, explains and illustrates one of the most fundamental,yet under-exposed facets of computers - their inherent limitations. Looking at the bad news that is proven, lasting, and robust, discussing limitations that no amounts of hardware, software, talents or resources can overcome, the book presents a disturbing and provocative view of computing at thestart of the 21st century. Along the way he shows just how far from perfect computers are, while shattering some of the many claims made for these machines. Though we may strive for bigger and better things in computing, we need to be realistic: computers are not omnipotent - far from it. Moreover,the problem is real and is here to stay. From reviews of Algorithmics: 'This book is a veritable tour de force. Harel writes with uncommon verve, clarity, and imagination... This is science writing at its best.' Times Higher Education Supplement 'This is the book I would most like to have written.' Professor Darrell Ince, OpenUniversity

Author Notes

David Harel is one of world's leading computer scientists. His previous book - Algorithmics was critically acclaimed, and has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.

Table of Contents

1 What's it all about
2 Sometimes we can't do it
3 Sometimes we can't afford to do it
4 Sometimes we just don't know
5 Trying to ease the pain
6 Turning bad into good
7 Can we ourselves do any better