Book Id: 51710 Giant Brains or Machines that Think. Author's copy. Edmund C. Berkeley.
Giant Brains or Machines that Think. Author's copy

Giant Brains or Machines that Think. Author's copy

Publisher Information: New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1949.

Berkeley, Edmund Callis (1909-88). Giant brains or machines that think. xvi, 270pp. Text illustrations. New York: John Wiley & Sons; London: Chapman & Hall, ©1949. 212 x 140 mm. Original gray cloth, yellow pictorial dust-jacket (a bit soiled, small chips in spine). Very good. The Author’s Copy, with his signature and note “Copy II” on the front free endpaper, date-stamped “Nov 22 1949.” Author’s notes of errata and broken fonts on the rear free endpaper in red pencil; corrections of these errors in his hand on the relevant pages.

First Edition of the first popular work on electronic digital computers. When Giant Brains was published, electronic computers were virtually unknown to the general public. The few that existed were unique machines that belonged to the government; UNIVAC, the first commercial mainframe, was still in early stages of development. Apart from occasional newspaper and magazine articles, there was virtually no information on electronic computers available for the nonspecialist reader. Berkeley’s book was intended to explain a difficult subject to curious people, most of whom would probably never see an actual electronic digital computer.

Berkeley’s book is written in a clear, easy-to-read style that remains quite accessible even today. It includes chapters on the Harvard Mark I and ENIAC, as well as notices of the Harvard Mark II, the IBM Selective-Sequence Electronic Calculator, and Eckert and Mauchly’s BINAC, which were then under construction. Punched-card machines and Bush’s Differential Analyzer are also discussed, and the final chapters deal with the future impact of computers on society. Pages 229–60 contain the first attempt at a comprehensive annotated bibliography of computer literature, which listed a high percentage of the very small number of publications then available on the subject. Giant Brains also contains the earliest description of Berkeley’s own “Simon” machine, which has been called the first personal computer. Origins of Cyberspace 463.

Book Id: 51710

Price: $6,500.00

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