The Pattern on the Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work


Product Details

Basic Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 0.6 inches | 0.25 pounds
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About the Author

As an MIT graduate student, W. Daniel Hillis designed the first practical massively parallel computer, the Connection Machine, and in 1983 co-founded the world-famous Thinking Machines Corporation to produce and market this device. The co-founder of the Long Now Foundation, Applied Minds, Applied Invention, and other technology companies, Hillis lives in Los Angeles, California.


Peter Thomas, New Scientist
"This is the best book on computers I have ever read. Hillis takes us on a lightening tour of the fundamentals of computing.... Nowhere does [he] lose sight of the fact that what is important is not the detail of these issues, but the story that flows through them and rationality of thought that connects them."

Dan Brekke, WIRED
"[Hillis'] conclusion is thoughtfully optimistic--and appealing even to a skeptic."

Bill Brazell, The Industry Standard
"The Pattern on the Stone illustrates basic computing concepts with line drawings of Tinkertoys in various positions--a surprisingly helpful approach.... The book's gradual pace, low-tech design and gentle title are meant to bring hope to those who feel swamped by a tidal wave of computer-wrought change. And the approach succeeds, by showing the reader how humans, not magicians, discovered a few basic principles and built these amazing machines."

Publisher's Weekly
"Hillis...provides an almost philosophical approach to the machine that has changed our lives.... [He] writes with the authority of an expert and the rigor of a logician.... A helpful and succinct volume."