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1. The Computer and the Brain: Second
2. Theory of Games and Economic Behavior
3. John Von Neumann: The Scientific
4. Mathematical Foundations of Quantum
5. John von Neumann and the Origins
6. John von Neumann, 1903-1957: Bulletin
7. John von Neumann: Selected Letters
8. The Neumann Compendium (World
9. John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener:
10. Numerical Challenges in Lattice
11. Modeling And Computations in Dynamical
12. Papers of John von Neumann on
13. Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik
14. Collected Works: Theory of Games,
15. Spieltheorie und wirtschaftliches
16. Workshop on Molecular Dynamics
17. Operator Algebras, Quantizatiion,
18. John von Neumann and the Foundations
19. John von Neumann and Modern Economics
20. Quantization, Nonlinear Partial

1. The Computer and the Brain: Second Edition (Mrs. Hepsa Ely Silliman Memorial Lectures)
by John von Neumann
Paperback: 112 Pages (2000-07-11)
list price: US$11.00 -- used & new: US$5.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300084730
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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With a foreword by Paul M. Churchland and Patricia S. ChurchlandThis book represents the views of one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century on the analogies between computing machines and the living human brain. John von Neumann concludes that the brain operates in part digitally, in part analogically, but uses a peculiar statistical language unlike that employed in the operation of man-made computers. This edition includes a new foreword by two eminent figures in the fields of philosophy, neuroscience, and consciousness.Amazon.com Review
Whether they think that artificial intelligence is impossible or inevitable, most people have highly polarized views on it. John von Neumann, genius, mathematician, and inventor of the nearly ubiquitous computer architecture that bears his name, blazed trails for both camps in The Computer and the Brain. This short book, which was written originally for Yale's Silliman lectures, but published posthumously, summarizes his views on machine and biological intelligence with unprecedented clarity and precision. His understanding of neuroscience was that of a brilliant and strongly motivated amateur at the end of the 1950s--good enough to take on the problem, but by no means matching his comprehension of the machines to which he had devoted much of his professional life. Still, his take on intracranial computation is stunningly prescient--he looks beyond the then-fashionable digital metaphors to suggest a semi-analog strategy that uses parallel processing to make up for its deficiency in speed. Prominent neuroscientific thinkers Paul M. Churchland and Patricia S. Churchland provide a brief, enlightening foreword to this second edition, placing the author's thinking in context and grounding the reader in the scientific milieu that gave rise to The Computer and the Brain. Although his computer architecture slowly is growing obsolete, von Neumann has given us a more lasting legacy in his thinking about thinking. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars John von Neumann on computer logic
Von Neumann is one the brilliant mathematician and an expert of computer logic. This book is dated, manuscript written in 1957, but from the historical perspectives it still well worth reading. Neumann's pioneering work lead to considerable advances in computers and his ideas lead to advances in computer automation and robotics. The thoughts of Klara von Neumann, the wife of John Neumann provides a brief sketch of events that lead to the presentation at the Silliman Foundation lectures at Yale University. Neumann was diagnosed with bone cancer that confined him to the wheelchair. His health deteriorating by the day until his death in early 1957, unable to deliver the prestigious lecture and unable to complete the manuscript for the lecture, Yale University eventually published his partly-completed manuscript as a part of the prestigious Silliman lectures.

This book is described in two parts; the computer and the brain. The basic concepts of analog and digital procedures, the characteristics of digital machine types and their basic components, memory-stored controls, memory capacities, and the concept of access time are discussed with regards to the machine. In the second part the author discusses the structure and function of human brain and compares the common characteristics between the brain and computer. The author provides a comparative analysis of the nerve cell (neuron); how it generates and propagates nerve impulses compared with generation and propagation of computer messages. The author looks at the complexity on neurons and its functions; the nature of the nerve impulses, the process of its stimulation, digital character, the problem of memory within the nervous system. Although the author still refers to vacuum-tube machines, the flip-flops, and transistor technology, but the basic concepts underlying the development of memory elements in a computer is well worth the reading.

The recent advances in automation and robotics illustrate the early contribution of von Neumann in this field. In a recent study, Christopher Macleod and his colleagues in Aberdeen, UK, have created a robot that evolves like a living species in biological evolution. When the incremental evolutionary algorithm (lEA) realizes that its evolutions are no longer improving the robot's speed it freezes the neural network it has evolved, denying it the ability to evolve further. The sensors determine what it needs to carry out a given task most effectively. As animals evolved, the robots can evolve similarly. The robot can also adapt to newly acquired vision, and learn how to avoid or seek light when given a camera. This is just like the way the brain evolved building up in layers.

1. Minds, Brains, and Computers: An Historical Introduction to the Foundations of Cognitive Science (Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies)
2. Toward Brain-Computer Interfacing (Neural Information Processing)
3. From Computer to Brain
4. The Conscious Mind: Programming The Brain-Computer
5. Creating Brain-Like Intelligence: From Basic Principles to Complex Intelligent Systems (Lecture Notes in Computer Science / Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence)

5-0 out of 5 stars The genius looks at where the inner workings of a genius is...
After 50 years, this book by the genius John von Neumann is still relevant in many aspects. I wish I had read this before I started my cognitive science education or before I have written my cog. sci. thesis. Neumann's insights into the architecture of the information processing of the brain is what many scientists today consider a nearly standard framework.

Anybody in interested in the intersection of computing science and brain research should read this short and sharp book, not only for its contents but also for Neumann's style.

5-0 out of 5 stars Computer Science
The Computer and the Brain, by John von Neumann, is theoretical work which examines mathematics, logic's, and statistics as the basic tools of information. The book explores how these subjects make up the entirety of the planning, usage and coding of computers. The author explores how mathematics and logic are related to the functions of the organic human brain in the same way they are applied to the artificial automated computer processor.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dated, but always worth reading von Neumann
Von Neumann was one of the most celebrated and prolific mathematicians of the 20'th century; his contributions were legion, and always bore unmistakable creativity and elegance. "The Computer and the Brain" is a record of a lecture series that von Neumann delivered at Yale University in 1957. In these lectures, von Neumann set out to explore connections between computing hardware and their biological counterparts; brains. Von Neumann compared neurons with physical computing elements in terms of size, speed, heat dissipation, capacity, etc., in an attempt to discover what, if anything, could be said to unite them or to set them apart. He drew from what had been learned in designing computer instructions and memories in an attempt to glean some insight into what the brain might be doing. Ever the consummate mathematician, von Neumann was guarded in his statements, never over-reaching or confusing speculation with fact.

The ideas contained in these lectures will come as no great surprise to most scientists today; indeed, I would expect most to simply nod in agreement at most of von Neumann's observations. For example, von Neumann notes that neurons are essentially digital in that they have an all-or-nothing activation energy. However, it is interesting to see how seriously he pursues the idea that the brain may rely upon a mixture of analog and digital encodings; he took absolutely nothing for granted, and may well have been vastly ahead of his time.

Although von Neumann's many references to vacuum tubes and differential analyzers may seem archaic today, his central points remain essentially intact. I'm certain that von Neumann would have felt somewhat vindicated by the explosive advances in semiconductor devices (in both digital and analog incarnations), as well as in machine learning and neurobiology. One can perhaps view von Neumann's lectures as the first glimmerings of what would eventually become fruitful exchanges between computer science and various biological disciplines.

If you are looking for a discussion that will give you some insight into artificial intelligence, neural networks, or brain physiology, then I'm afraid you will likely be disappointed with this book. While many of von Neumann's observations may have been controversial at the time, they have for the most part moved quietly into the collective consciousness of scientists. However, if you have interest in either the historical development of these ideas, or in seeing how one of the preeminent minds of the 20'th century approached this vexing new problem, then it will be worth your time.

What I most enjoyed about this book is von Neumann's methodical and exceedingly cautious approach, coupled with his occasional willingness to speculate. As the vast majority of von Neumann's writings are accessible only to a very small audience, such as his enormously influential treatises on quantum mechanics, geometry, and game theory, and his pioneering work in areas such as functional analysis and operator theory, this little book is perhaps unique in that it lets you in on the ground floor.

5-0 out of 5 stars The un-digital brain.
Perhaps the most famous and often quoted line in this remarkable bookappears on page 39, where von Neumann declares that"The mostimmediate observation regarding the nervous system is that its functioningis prima facie digital."

The "prima facie" modifier iscommonly taken to mean von Neumann saw the brain as "obviouslydigital," or "patently digital," and that it therefore mustresemble a digital computer.But as you read the rest of the book, youquickly discover that this is not what John von Neumann intended.VonNeumann uses words cautiously and precisely, and to him, "Primafacie" means exactly what it says: "on its face."

In1956, the brain appeared digital. But von Neumann thought this impressionmight be superficial.He thought that deeper biological investigationmight well demonstrate that the nervous system is not, in fact, digital, ornot completely digital. He believed it might work in some moresophisticated way, and suggests that perhaps some intermediate signalingmechanism, a hybrid between analog and digital, might be at work in thebrain.For this and other reasons he actively resisted labeling the brainas a digital computer.

In the mid 90s, evidence began to appear that vonNeumann was probably right to reserve his judgment. These curious newresults show that a single nerve impulse is somehow able to conveyinformation to the brain.This signal seems distinctly un-digital. Anumber of theories have popped up, some attempting to explain this whoppingnew mystery, others attempting to explain it away. But its impact onneurophysiology, and on conventional computer models of the brain, ispretty shocking.Not to say, devastating.(See Spikes, by Rieke et al,for a readable account of this story.) When the smoke clears, it would notbe surprising if people go all the way back to John von Neumann,lookingfor traction, fresh starting points, and for von Neumann's wonderfullybroad sense of what is possible in neurobiology - a sense we have evidentlylost to progress in the years since he wrote this splendid essay.

VonNeumann did not include in this book his interesting views on the nervoussystem of the eye. He was an early adopter of visual memory systems indigital computers, and he was evidently intrigued by the way the retinalcells of the eye are arranged to look backward, that is, toward the screenof the back wall of the eye. Possibly he thought the retinal cells saw backthere a thin film diffraction pattern.You can find his interest in thenervous system of the eyeremarked in his brother Nicholas Vonneumann'sbook, John von Neumann as seen by his Brother, and this reminiscence isalso paraphrased in Poundstone's Prisoner's Dilemma. Finally, some of theworldly story of von Neumann, his digital computers, and their role in thecreation of the hydrogen bomb can be found in MaCrae's biography. ... Read more

2. Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (Commemorative Edition) (Princeton Classic Editions)
by John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern
Paperback: 776 Pages (2007-03-19)
list price: US$46.95 -- used & new: US$33.45
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Asin: 0691130612
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This is the classic work upon which modern-day game theory is based. What began more than sixty years ago as a modest proposal that a mathematician and an economist write a short paper together blossomed, in 1944, when Princeton University Press published Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. In it, John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern conceived a groundbreaking mathematical theory of economic and social organization, based on a theory of games of strategy. Not only would this revolutionize economics, but the entirely new field of scientific inquiry it yielded--game theory--has since been widely used to analyze a host of real-world phenomena from arms races to optimal policy choices of presidential candidates, from vaccination policy to major league baseball salary negotiations. And it is today established throughout both the social sciences and a wide range of other sciences.

This sixtieth anniversary edition includes not only the original text but also an introduction by Harold Kuhn, an afterword by Ariel Rubinstein, and reviews and articles on the book that appeared at the time of its original publication in the New York Times, tthe American Economic Review, and a variety of other publications. Together, these writings provide readers a matchless opportunity to more fully appreciate a work whose influence will yet resound for generations to come.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Like reading murky Elizabethan prose for this generation of game theorists
Like reading murky Elizabethan prose for this generation of game theorists.

Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (TGEB) is the Ur-text of game theory, and Morgenstern and von Neumann bridge the gap and make discoveries between logical positivism, formal logic, choice sets, number theory, and binomial and multinomial outcomes.

But in retrospect, this work is rather cumbersome and notation, because so much of it was new, is often baffling to those who have learned game theory from more modern lecturers: a lot of clarity and light has been shed on the field since this was written.

As brilliant as the insights of von Neumann, and to a lesser extent Morgenstern, were, they were building in response to the nearly simultaneous discoveries by Nash of a new sub-set of mathematics, and like all new fields the first expression needed editing and focus. For this is this work's flaw: it attempted as a first expression of a new field to be comprehensive. Whereas Nash's discovery of equilibrium was lean and concise, with profound reverberations throughout decision sciences, TGEB is bloated and sometimes misguided: economics is too huge a field, and even then the concept of homo economicus rationalis was crumbling under the discovery that people make suboptimal decisions all the time.

For those who are reading this for historical curiosity, I suggest William Poundstone's "Prisoner's Dilemma" in conjunction with TGEB, but frankly modern expressions of game theory in more abbreviated texts such as Harold Kuhn's works are actually better because they've cleaned out the dead ends and tightened up he notation and expression.

5-0 out of 5 stars very fast shipping, great transaction
I was very happy with book I received. Book was as described and shipped very fast. Thank You!

4-0 out of 5 stars revolutionary
This book is a must for high level math or econ. majors.To truly understand all the math you need advanced calculus, but the book is still worth while if you only have a basic knowledge of math.The work von Neumann did was revolutionary, with game theory being a joke before this work.You should read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Please, the genius speak!
This book is very important for the quality of argument by two big personalities. The lecture is nice for the richness of particulars about several aspects of the theory. The student can understand the singular properties very cleary. The historical importance of this book is very strong.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thorough, Maybe Too Thorough
I am in the middle of this book now.I chose it because it was the first in this field.It presents so much information, it can overwhelming.Perhaps I should have chosen a simpler book for my first.Oh well, I will plod along.My limited math skills meas I miss out on a lot of the book, but the stuff in between the math is great and is helping me to better understand the ideas.
I'm giving it four stars.It is jam-packed with great research and the reader can learn quite a bit, but the heavy math emphasis makes it difficult for many to consume. ... Read more

3. John Von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More
by Norman MacRae
Paperback: 406 Pages (1999-10-05)
list price: US$32.00 -- used & new: US$28.80
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Asin: 082182676X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This volume is the reprinted edition of the first full-scale biography of the man widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the century after Einstein.

Born in Budapest in 1903, John von Neumann grew up in one of the most extraordinary of scientific communities. From his arrival in America in the mid-1930s--with bases in Boston, Princeton, Washington, and Los Alamos--von Neumann pioneered and participated in the major scientific and political dramas of the next three decades, leaving his mark on more fields of scientific endeavor than any other scientist. Von Neumann's work in areas such as game theory, mathematics, physics, and meteorology formed the building blocks for the most important discoveries of the century: the modern computer, game theory, the atom bomb, radar, and artificial intelligence, to name just a few.

From the laboratory to the highest levels of government, this definitive biography gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the politics and personalities involved in these world-changing discoveries. Written more than 30 years after von Neumann's untimely death at age 54, it was prepared with the cooperation of his family and includes information gained from interviewing countless sources across Europe and America. Norman Macrae paints a highly readable, humanizing portrait of a man whose legacy still influences and shapes modern science and knowledge. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Too little focus on science
The book is enjoyable but the descriptions of Neumann's contributions to science are too brief.
In the beginning chapter there is almost full page explaining the origin of the surnames of John's parents, or the meaning of the word " Gymnasium " in different countries and I would have liked to have a similar level of detail about John's work and breakthroughs.
Despite being light on equations, the book is still interesting and accessible.
3,5 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Through Biography
After reading two chapters it is obvious that the biography was very well researched. It does provide an in depth insight into John Von Neuman but fell short in detailing the positive effects of all his abilities. I wish the author had gone into greater detail about his work in mathematics and computer science.

4-0 out of 5 stars The road not taken
Norman Macrae, retired editor of The Economist, packs several pivotal economic theory events into Chapter 11 of his "John von Neumann." With so much of the industrialized world facing Chapter 11 (as in bankruptcy) Macrae's exposition is well worth rumination.
Von Neumann (1903-1957) superbly complemented Ludwig von Mises' teaching that the differential equations of physics are not applicable to economic phenomenon because of the absence of constant relations. Inequalities, von Neumann pointed out, are at least as important in economics (p. 251, 1992 hardback edition).
The great mathematician is critical of math's role in economics to date but doesn't turn the whole subject back to the literary crowd. Math can be used in economics provided the problem is properly defined, von Neumann holds (p. 264) - "There is no point in using exact methods when there is not clarity in the concepts and issues to which they are to be applied."
The Hungarian-born Jewish genius is thought to be in the train of mathematical economics father Leon Walras but was far from a static equilibrist, Macrae informs us. Von Neumann's speculation about the need for a new mathematical language for economics is eye-opening (p. 264). Prof. Paul Samuelson, who died at the time I was reading "John von Neumann" (December 2009), disagreed (p. 266). Our author summarizes nicely von Neumann's teachings that the proper body of relations (as astronomy did for physics), combined with illuminating tools for expression (calculus) and visionary synthesizers (Newton and Brahe), has not yet formed in economic science. In honoring the wise Samuelson, we might ponder that his work may end up a significant portion of the scientific preparation for the new economics.
Von Neumann could have played the part of Isaac Newton in modern economics but chose to hang his hat elsewhere. Economics is much the weaker because of this road not taken. You'll have to read all of "John von Neumann" to reckon why the great scientist put other pursuits before economics. The times certainly beckoned (The Great Depression). Theoretical posturing is held out by Macrae - "On Keynesian macroeconomics in the 1930s, he (von Neumann) did not feel either side was mathematically proving its case, so he turned to other things." (p. 256).
The 1928 and 1937 papers of von Neumann as well as his book "Theory of Games and Economic Behavior" (written with Princeton University colleague Oskar Morgenstern, 1944) give several reasons to believe that "Johnny" (as Macrae repeatedly and annoyingly calls him) could have put Lord Keynes the spendaholic (alias Debt Vader) out with the trash. The public was ready for it - interest in game theory was such that the New York Times published a front-page story around the time of the book's publication. Imagine an economics so popular that it would be the talk of the water cooler yet of such profundity that it would blend with Joseph Schumpeter and Mises Austrian School explanations of rivalrous competition to finally crack the great wall of price competition stupidity maintained by bureaucrats and the legal system.
Yes, hard to believe. Alas, von Neumann was a brilliant comet racing through the skies above economics. Astronomers like Samuelson and his academic descendants (that's you and me) continue trying to grab something of his tail. The late, great MIT Nobel laureate concluded (p. 266) - "He was the incomparable Johnny von Neumann. He darted briefly into our domain, and it has never been the same since."

5-0 out of 5 stars John Von Neumann
An outstanding book in all respects. Provides an inside look at what transpired in the making of the A-Bomb. Also includes numerous other contributions made by this mathematical genius.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good biography of a true genius
John von Neumann was a prodigy's prodigy, the likes of whom rarely grace the earth.Norman McRae is one of the few intrepid biographers who have dared to take on von Neumann's phenomenally accomplished life.As was to be expected, McRae wasn't equal to his subject, but the book is still extremely worthwhile.

I wished that McRae had put more effort into describing the science of von Neuman's work - Aspray did an excellent job in describing his contributions to computer science - and spared us some his thoughts on the Japanese economy.Nevertheless, this is a good, if imperfect book, and one of the best on John von Neumann. ... Read more

4. Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
by John von Neumann
Paperback: 472 Pages (1996-10-28)
list price: US$78.50 -- used & new: US$48.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691028931
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics was a revolutionary book that caused a sea change in theoretical physics. Here, John von Neumann, one of the leading mathematicians of the twentieth century, shows that great insights in quantum physics can be obtained by exploring the mathematical structure of quantum mechanics. He begins by presenting the theory of Hermitean operators and Hilbert spaces. These provide the framework for transformation theory, which von Neumann regards as the definitive form of quantum mechanics. Using this theory, he attacks with mathematical rigor some of the general problems of quantum theory, such as quantum statistical mechanics as well as measurement processes. Regarded as a tour de force at the time of publication, this book is still indispensable for those interested in the fundamental issues of quantum mechanics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars a very elegant book
This is a beautifully written book, more for mathematicians than for physicists, since von Neumann does not really discuss the physics that goes into the subject. There is also an emphasis on "foundation", so you will not have too many examples of hydrogen atoms work out. The style is also unmistakably mathematical. Every mathematician with an interest in quantum mechanics should have this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilbert Space Formulation of QM
The ultimate source of Hilbert Space applied to Quantum Mechanics.John von Neumann was the first to systematically formulate QM in such a powerful and elegant vector space.If this is the Bible of QM in HS, Hughes is the missioner!Get the book as well -- The Structure and Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Has Strengths and Weaknesses
First the strengths:
(1) The author gives a rigorous proof of the incompatibility of the two theories of quantum mechanics, that is, the evolution of the state vector as determined by Schrodinger's equation and the collapse of the state vector by means of an observation. He does this by the concept of entropy.
(2) He gives a thorough treatment of the "consciousness school" of interpretation, which makes for an interesting,if not entirely convincing read.

The weaknesses:
(1) the font is a pain to read; it looks like it came off an old typewriter. I wonder why the publishers couldn't put it into a more modern readable form.
(2) Von Neumann writes this book , in part, with the intention to dispel the mathematical nonsense, as he perceives it, of the Dirac delta function. Therefore he casts everything into the unwieldy formalism required to do without the distribution. Indoubtedly he was trying to change the dirac formalism in use in quantum mechanics at the time but was fortunately unsucessful in persuading physicists to use his alternative language.

Summary: I recommend this book for anyone wishing to deepen his or her understanding of the foundations, conceptual and mathematical of quantum theory.

5-0 out of 5 stars a classic
As an undergrad, I am sorry that I cannot share the perspectives ofprofessionals as expressed below. After initial introductory courses, I gotfascinated by certain untold conceptual issues. And one of the textbooks(probably Griffiths) suggested von Neumann had tried to provemathematically that the classical formulation is just the furthest theformalism can go and we don't have to worry about underlying complexities.Later, Bohm created a formalism which von Neumann "proves" to bemathematically impossible in this book. I bought this book just to find outhow the proof goes. But I got stuck with some tedious proofs on Hilbertspace (which he calls a "digression"). This part isn't essentialbut as the braket notation is not used you need to consult this part. Ithink at least a strong background in linear algebra is required. Definitlynot an introductory textbook. Most useful for those who study history ofphysics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very nice historical approach
This is not the kind of book I would recommend to a novice person in the area, but it does give a very interesting view of how was quantum mechanics born. It begins with a thorough discussion about the mathematics of Hilbertspaces and operator theory to later merge Heisenberg's and Schrodinger'stheories in one rigorous mathematical theory. It makes some remarks thatallows the reader to see how was the 'new' quantum theory born anddeveloped, since it briefly discusses the theories of Heisenberg andSchrodinger in the way they originally stated them. Maybe the mostdisturbing issue would be the notation since in 1932 dirac had still notdeveloped the bracket formalism. ... Read more

5. John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing (History of Computing)
by William Aspray
Hardcover: 394 Pages (1990-12-07)
list price: US$72.00 -- used & new: US$160.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262011212
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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John von Neumann (1903-1957) was unquestionably one of the most brilliant scientists of the twentieth century. He made major contributions to quantum mechanics and mathematical physics and in 1943 began a new and all-too-short career in computer science. William Aspray provides the first broad and detailed account of von Neumann's many different contributions to computing. These, Aspray reveals, extended far beyond his well-known work in the design and construction of computer systems to include important scientific applications, the revival of numerical analysis, and the creation of a theory of computing.Aspray points out that from the beginning von Neumann took a wider and more theoretical view than other computer pioneers. In the now famous EDVAC report of 1945, von Neumann clearly stated the idea of a stored program that resides in the computer's memory along with the data it was to operate on. This stored program computer was described in terms of idealized neurons, highlighting the analogy between the digital computer and the human brain. Aspray describes von Neumann's development during the next decade, and almost entirely alone, of a theory of complicated information processing systems, or automata, and the introduction of themes such as learning, reliability of systems with unreliable components, self-replication, and the importance of memory and storage capacity in biological nervous systems; many of these themes remain at the heart of current investigations in parallel or neurocomputing.Aspray allows the record to speak for itself. He unravels an intricate sequence of stories generated by von Neumann's work and brings into focus the interplay of personalities centered about von Neumann. He documents the complex interactions of science, the military, and business and shows how progress in applied mathematics was intertwined with that in computers.William Aspray is Director of the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering at The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.Amazon.com Review
In the mid 1940s, John von Neumann revolutionized the nascent field of computing by showing that program instructions could be stored in a computer's memory instead of on external panels or punch cards. In John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing, William Aspray details the design and construction of von Neumann's computer systems and explains the broader implications of von Neumann's contributions. Aspray discusses von Neumann's fame in the realms of mathematics, physics, and economics and his remarkable career, which included work as an atomic energy commissioner and as principal scientific adviser to the U.S. Air Force on ballistic missile development. By examining the interplay of science, military, and business, which formed the background for von Neumann's work, Aspray does an excellent job of placing von Neumann's accomplishments in computer science into the context of his other achievements. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A superb book on John von Neumann's many contributions to computer science
John von Neumann was one of the greatest prodigies of the last century.His right-wing politics and the fact that he made seminal contributions to many fields of science account for his not having won a Nobel prize.Nevertheless many Nobel laureates considered his intellect far superior to theirs.

v.N's many talents account for nobody having yet written a biography that does him justice, as it's very unlikely that anyone with the mind to understand his seminal contributions to many branches of science would have the spare time to write such a book.

Aspray has done an superb job of describing von Neumann's contributions to computer science.By referencing many details in the exhaustive references he enables his readers to quickly find von Neumann's original work if they want to get to the nitty gritty of his contributions and spares the average reader details that would have made the book tedious and unreadable.

I strongly suspect that this will remain the reference book on J. v. N's contributions to computer science; his daughter was quite pleased with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars superb, scholarly book
Unsurpassed quality is the hallmark of this fine book

4-0 out of 5 stars An Overview of Von Neumann's Contributions to Computing
No one has yet written a biography of John von Neumann that sums up both his intellectual achievements and his curious personality.William Aspray's book, John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing, atleast makes a good effort at explaining von Neumann's intellectualaccomplishments, although it is not a complete biography in explaining theman. Granted, such a biography might be impossible, given the breadth andprofundity of von Neumann's contributions to thought.It is hard toconceive of another person who left more of a mark on the twentieth centuryworld of science, with the exception of Einstein himself. For a look atvon Neumann the personality, one can find good character sketches of him inEd Regis's "Who Got Einstein's Office?" and in Joel Shurkin's"Engines of the Mind", but neither of these works presents acomplete view of von Neumann's intellectual achivements. Aspray's bookdoes a thorough job of covering von Neumann's thoughts on computing..Itis thorough in dealing with von Neumann's contributions to mathematics, tothe building of the IAS computer, to problems in information theory, andoutlines more of von Neumann's thought on the analogy between computerprocessing and the human mind than most writers ever notice.Additionally,von Neumann made contributions to meteorology that are usually overlooked,which Aspray outlines more thoroughly than other writers.The book doesnot address much about Game Theory (William Poundstone's book, Prisoner'sDilemma, outlines von Neumann's contributions in that field of study),which is another huge area of study that von Neumann pioneered. Aspray'sbook is required reading for anyone wrestling with John von Neumann'sideas, he outlines perhaps 60% of von Neumann's career better than anyother writer, but one wonders when the truly comprehensive biography of vonNeumann will be written. ... Read more

6. John von Neumann, 1903-1957: Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society - Volume 64, Number 3, Part 2, May 1958
by J. C.; Pettis, B. J.; Price, G. B. (eds.) Oxtoby
 Paperback: Pages (1958)

Asin: B003FWPZBO
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7. John von Neumann: Selected Letters
by John von Neumann
Hardcover: 301 Pages (2005-11-29)
list price: US$62.00 -- used & new: US$41.85
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Asin: 0821837761
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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John von Neumann was perhaps the most influential mathematician of the twentieth century. Not only did he contribute to almost all branches of mathematics, he created new fields and was a pioneering influence in the development of computer science. During and after World War II, he was a much sought-after technical advisor. He served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee at the Ballistic Research Laboratories, the Navy Bureau of Ordinance, and the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. He was a consultant to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and was appointed by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Atomic Energy Commission. He received the Albert Einstein Commemorative Award, the Enrico Fermi Award, and the Medal of Freedom. This collection of about 150 of von Neumann's letters to colleagues, friends, government officials, and others illustrates both his brilliance and his strong sense of responsibility. It is the first substantial collection of his letters, giving a rare inside glimpse of his thinking on mathematics, physics, computer science, science management, education, consulting, politics, and war. With an introductory chapter describing the many aspects of von Neumann's scientific, political, and social activities, this book makes great reading. Readers of quite diverse backgrounds will be fascinated by this first-hand look at one of the towering figures of twentieth century science. Also of interest and available from the AMS is John von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More and Invariant Measures. Copublished with the London Mathematical Society beginning with Volume 4. Members of the LMS may order directly from the AMS at the AMS member price. The LMS is registered with the Charity Commissioners. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Does not cover CS
John von Neumann was a brilliant man, making significant contributions to quantum physics and higher mathematics.However, as this book says, "Von Neumann is best known in the general public for his work in computer design.His activity in this field is very well documented in the work of W. Aspray.Aspray's book contains quotations from many of von Neumann's letters concerning computer science; thus the current volume contains just a small selection of von Neumann's letters related to computers".

If you're interested in von Neumann as a computer scientist, buy John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing (History of Computing) instead.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insight into the Thinking of a Renaissance Man
John von Newman was one of the Renaissance Men of our century. He produced significant contributions in the areas of : Logic, Quantum Mechanics, Economics, Armaments, and Computer Science. As a case in point, the computer you are using to read this is almost certainly one based on von Newmann architecture. His work on the development of atomic weapons was as important as his development of the social concept of Mutually Assured Destruction which was the fundamental precept of the Cold War. Had he lived longer he would almost certainly have received a Nobel Prize in economics for his development of game theory. (He died at age 54, probably because of exposure to radiation.)

This book is a compendium of letters that he wrote. It contains letters on many subjects written to a wide collection of people from scientists to plitical leaders, business leaders and declining an invitation to give a speech.

In addition to the letters there is a 40 or so page preamble about him as a person and summarizing some of the work that he did. Largely unknown outside the technical areas in which he worked John von Newmann was a towering figure in twentieth century science. This book will not get a wide distribution, but it provides interesting insight into his thinking. ... Read more

8. The Neumann Compendium (World Scientific Series in 20th Century Mathematics, Vol 1)
by John Von Neumann, Tibor Vamos, F. Brody
Hardcover: 699 Pages (1995-08)
list price: US$115.00 -- used & new: US$115.00
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Asin: 9810222017
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This is a selection of John von Neumann's papers and excerpts from his books that are most characteristic of his activity. The book is organized by the specific subjects - quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, operator algebra, hydrodynamics, economics, computers, science and society. The sections are introduced by short explanatory notes with an emphasis on recent developments based on von Neumann's contributions. An overall picture is provided by Ulam's 1958 memorial lecture. Facsimilae and translations of some of his personal letters and a newly completed bibliography based on von Neumann's own careful compilation are added. ... Read more

9. John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener: From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death
by Steve Joshua Heims
Paperback: 568 Pages (1982-06-17)
list price: US$13.50 -- used & new: US$100.00
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Asin: 026258056X
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John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener were mathematician-scientists, both child prodigies born near the turn of the century. As young men each made profound contributions to abstract mathematics. ... Read more

10. Numerical Challenges in Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics: Joint Interdisciplinary Workshop of John von Neumann Institute for Computing, Jülich and Institute ... Science, Wuppertal University, August 1999
Kindle Edition: 184 Pages (2000-10-27)
list price: US$107.00
Asin: B000PC10X4
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11. Modeling And Computations in Dynamical Systems: In Commeration Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Birth Of John von Neumann
by et al Eusebius J. Doedel (Editor)
Hardcover: 356 Pages (2006-03-10)
list price: US$164.00 -- used & new: US$131.20
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Asin: 9812565965
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The Hungarian born mathematical genius, John von Neumann, was undoubtedly one of the greatest and most influential scientific minds of the 20th century. Von Neumann made fundamental contributions to Computing and he had a keen interest in Dynamical Systems, specifically Hydrodynamic Turbulence. This book, offering a state-of-the-art collection of papers in computational dynamical systems, is dedicated to the memory of von Neumann. Including contributions from J E Marsden, P J Holmes, M Shub, A Iserles, M Dellnitz and J Guckenheimer, this book offers a unique combination of theoretical and applied research in areas such as geometric integration, neural networks, linear programming, dynamical astronomy, chemical reaction models, structural and fluid mechanics. ... Read more

12. Papers of John von Neumann on Computers and Computing Theory (Charles Babbage Institute Reprint)
by John von Neumann
 Hardcover: 640 Pages (1986-10-27)
list price: US$65.00
Isbn: 026222030X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This volume brings together for the first time John von Neumann's long-out-of-print articles on computer architecture, programming, large-scale computing, and automata theory. A number of significant papers in these areas that were not included in the multivolume John von Neumann. Collected Works (1963) have now been reprinted here. These pioneering articles - written between the mid-1940s and the mid-1950s - are of enduring value not only to computer historians but to computer scientists at the vanguard of current research. Most of today's computers are still constructed in accordance with the "von Neumann architecture," and his technique of flow charting remains basic in the domain.Papers of John von Neumann on Computers and Computer Theory is volume 12 in the Charles Babbage Institute Reprint Series for the History of Computing. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Papers of John von Neuman
This book is interesting for anybody who is interested on computers architecture, but it might be more graphical. ... Read more

13. Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik (German Edition)
by John von Neumann
Hardcover: 262 Pages (1995-11-14)
list price: US$69.95 -- used & new: US$31.37
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Asin: 3540592075
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Es gibt einige Bücher, die die naturwissenschaftliche Welt verändert haben: John von Neumanns Buch über die Quantenmechanik gehört dazu! Mit dieser richtungweisenden Studie legte er den Grundstein für seine späteren, weltberühmten Arbeiten in den USA.
Das Buch ist nicht nur von historischem Interesse, sondern kann immer noch als elementare Einführung in die Grundbegriffe der Quantenmechanik mit Gewinn studiert werden. Seine besondere Stärke ist die Verbindung zwischen physikalischer Idee und mathematischer Exaktheit. Ein Gewinn für jeden Leser aus den Bereichen Mathematik und Physik - schon ab dem vierten Semester. ... Read more

14. Collected Works: Theory of Games, Astrophysics, Hydrodynamics and Meteorology v. 6
by John Von Neumann
 Hardcover: 548 Pages (1963-12)

Isbn: 0080095720
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15. Spieltheorie und wirtschaftliches Verhalten
by John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern
 Paperback: 668 Pages (1973-01-01)
list price: US$39.00 -- used & new: US$39.00
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Asin: 3790801348
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16. Workshop on Molecular Dynamics on Parallel Computers: John Von Neumann Institute for Computing (Nic) Research Center Julich, Germany 8-10 February 1999
Hardcover: 379 Pages (2000-04)
list price: US$118.00 -- used & new: US$97.85
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Asin: 9810242328
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Contains the invited talks and poster abstracts presented at a conference by more than 100 researchers from various fields: computer science, solid state physics, high-energy physics, polymers, biochemistry, granular materials and astrophysics. ... Read more

17. Operator Algebras, Quantizatiion, and Noncommutative Geometry: A Centennial Celebration Honoring John von Neumann and Marshall H. Stone (Contemporary Mathematics)
Paperback: 422 Pages (2004-12)
list price: US$114.00 -- used & new: US$108.48
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Asin: 0821834029
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John von Neumann and Marshall Stone were two giants of Twentieth Century mathematics. In honor of the 100th anniversary of their births, a mathematical celebration was organized featuring developments in fields where both men were major influences.

This volume contains articles from the AMS Special Session, Operator Algebras, Quantization and Noncommutative Geometry: A Centennial Celebration in Honor of John von Neumann and Marshall H. Stone. Papers range from expository and historical surveys to original research articles. All articles were carefully refereed and cover a broad range of mathematical topics reflecting the fundamental ideas of von Neumann and Stone.

Most contributions are expanded versions of the talks and were written exclusively for this volume. Included, among others, are articles by George W. Mackey, Nigel Higson, and Marc Rieffel. Also featured is a reprint of P.R. Halmos's The Legend of John von Neumann.

The book is suitable for graduate students and researchers interested in operator algebras and applications, including noncommutative geometry. ... Read more

18. John von Neumann and the Foundations of Quantum Physics (Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook)
 Paperback: 384 Pages (2010-11-02)
list price: US$219.00 -- used & new: US$181.23
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Asin: 9048156513
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John von Neumann (1903-1957) was undoubtedly one of thescientific geniuses of the 20th century. The main fields to which hecontributed include various disciplines of pure and appliedmathematics, mathematical and theoretical physics, logic, theoreticalcomputer science, and computer architecture. Von Neumann was alsoactively involved in politics and science management and he had amajor impact on US government decisions during, and especially after,the Second World War.
There exist several popular books on his personality and variouscollections focusing on his achievements in mathematics, computerscience, and economy. Strangely enough, to date no detailed appraisalof his seminal contributions to the mathematical foundations ofquantum physics has appeared. Von Neumann's theory of measurement andhis critique of hidden variables became the touchstone of most debatesin the foundations of quantum mechanics. Today, his name also figuresmost prominently in the mathematically rigorous branches ofcontemporary quantum mechanics of large systems and quantum fieldtheory. And finally - as one of his last lectures, published inthis volume for the first time, shows - he considered therelation of quantum logic and quantum mechanical probability as hismost important problem for the second half of the twentieth century.
The present volume embraces both historical and systematic analyses ofhis methodology of mathematical physics, and of the various aspects ofhis work in the foundations of quantum physics, such as theory ofmeasurement, quantum logic, and quantum mechanical entropy. The volumeis rounded off by previously unpublished letters and lecturesdocumenting von Neumann's thinking about quantum theory after his 1932Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics.
The general part of the Yearbook contains papers emerging fromthe Institute's annual lecture series and reviews of importantpublications of philosophy of science and its history. ... Read more

19. John von Neumann and Modern Economics
 Hardcover: 264 Pages (1989-05-04)
list price: US$75.00
Isbn: 019828554X
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Centering around von Neumann's 1937 paper on the model of an expanding economy, this collection analyzes his versatility as a mathematician and his contribution to economics.The contributors include Kenneth Arrow, Lionello Punzo, Paul Samuelson, A. Brody, John Harsanyi, Sidney Afriat, Gerald Thompson, and Nicholas Kaldor. ... Read more

20. Quantization, Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations, and Operator Algebra: 1994 John Von Neumann Symposium on Quantization and Nonlinear Wave Equations ... of Symposia in Pure Mathematics)
by John von Neumann Symposium on Quantization and Nonlinear Wave Equations (1994 : Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
 Hardcover: 224 Pages (1996-05)
list price: US$63.00 -- used & new: US$62.10
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Asin: 0821803816
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Recent inroads in higher-dimensional nonlinear quantum field theory and in the global theory of relevant nonlinear wave equations have been accompanied by very interesting cognate developments. These developments include symplectic quantization theory on manifolds and in group representations, the operator algebraic implementation of quantum dynamics, and differential geometric, general relativistic, and purely algebraic aspects. Quantization and Nonlinear Wave Equations thus was highly appropriate as the theme for the first John von Neumann Symposium (June 1994) held at MIT. The symposium was intended to treat topics of emerging signifigance underlying future mathematical developments.

This book describes the outstanding recent progress in this important and challenging field and presents general background for the scientific context and specifics regarding key difficulties. Quantization is developed in the context of rigorous nonlinear quantum field theory in four dimensions and in connection with symplectic manifold theory and random Schrödinger operators. Nonlinear wave equations are exposed in relation to recent important progress in general relativity, in purely mathematical terms of microlocal analysis, and as represented by progress on the relativistic Boltzmann equation.

Most of the developments in this volume appear in book form for the first time. The resulting work is a concise and informative way to explore the field and the spectrum of methods available for its investigation. ... Read more

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