The Discrete Charm of the Machine: Why the World Became Digital

The Discrete Charm of the Machine by SteiglitzAuthor: Ken Steiglitz, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus, and senior scholar

Publisher: Princeton University Press, forthcoming February 2019

A few short decades ago, we were informed by the smooth signals of analog television, radio and vinyl discs; communicated with our analog telephones; and even computed with analog computers. Today our world is digital, built with zeros and ones. Why did this revolution occur?

The Discrete Charm of the Machine explains, in an engaging and accessible manner, the varied physical and logical reasons behind this radical transformation. The spark of individual genius shines through this story of innovation: the stored program of Jacquard’s loom, the logical branching of Charles Babbage, Alan Turing’s brilliant abstraction of the discrete machine. Steiglitz follows the progression of these ideas in the building of our digital world, from the internet and artificial intelligence to the edge of the unknown.

Text and book cover courtesy of the publisher