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After Thought


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Table of Contents

* Reassigning the Tasks of the Mind * The Master Thought Process of the Modern World * The Book of Nature Part One Of The Book Of Nature: Place * The First Fiction * An Emergent Fable of Astronomers and Stars * The Computer Within Living Memory * Listening to Data Part Two Of The Book Of Nature: Pace * The Maths of the Industrial Age * The Advent of New Sciences and New Maths * Listening to Neuron Part Three Of The Book Of Nature: Pattern * The New Intermaths of the Information Age * The Patterns Within Life * The Life Within Patterns * Computing the Patterns of Societies and Economies * Computing the New Realities of the Information Age * Computing the Patterns of Bodies and Minds * Listening to Life

About the Author

James Bailey was a senior manager at Thinking Machines Corporation, where a 64,000 processor parallel supercomputer and a wide range of evolutionary computing algorithms were developed. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.


The true electronic revolution has not yet happened, proclaims Bailey. A new breed of computers is emerging, using parallel processing and new mathematics ("intermaths") with exotic names like cellular automata, genetic algorithms and artificial life, which enable computers to continually change their own programs as they compute. Instead of the traditional mathematical vocabulary of numbers, symbols and equations, these computers emphasize emergent patterns, enabling scientists to investigate a world of perpetual novelty. The new computers are being used to analyze the behavior of bird flocks and consumers, to study the human immune system, to make financial decisions and to contour the molecular structure of effective drugs. Freelancer Bailey, a former executive at Thinking Machines Corp., predicts that the new computers will create their own versions of scientific theories and help us fathom biological and cultural evolution as well as the workings of the mind. This is a thoughtful, exciting preview of the dawning age of computing. (July)

Bailey, a former executive at Thinking Machines, the manufacturer of one of the earliest lines of parallel processor computers, argues that computers using parallel processing, as opposed to traditional linear processing, will change the way we understand intelligence. Drawing on stories and examples from Galileo to contemporary thinkers, he seeks to explain why the parallel-processing approach will revolutionize information processing and analysis. Some of his examples and analogies are straightforward and understandable, but too often he makes unclear chronological and conceptual jumps. Part philosophy, part history of science, part computer science history, and part technological prediction, this book is difficult to follow and thus unconvincing. For academic libraries.‘Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.

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