Poems That Solve Problems: The History and Science of Algorithms

ISBN : 9780198853732

Chris Bleakley
368 ページ
138 x 216 mm

Algorithms are the hidden methods that computers apply to process information and make decisions. Nowadays, our lives are run by algorithms. They determine what news we see. They influence which products we buy. They suggest our dating partners. They may even be determining the outcome of national elections. They are creating, and destroying, entire industries. Despite mounting concerns, few know what algorithms are, how they work, or who created them. Poems that Solve Puzzles tells the story of algorithms from their ancient origins to the present day and beyond. The book introduces readers to the inventors and inspirational events behind the genesis of the world's most important algorithms. Professor Chris Bleakley recounts tales of ancient lost inscriptions, Victorian steam-driven contraptions, top secret military projects, penniless academics, hippy dreamers, tech billionaires, superhuman artificial intelligences, cryptocurrencies, and quantum computing. Along the way, the book explains, with the aid of clear examples and illustrations, how the most influential algorithms work. Compelling and impactful, Poems that Solve Puzzles tells the story of how algorithms came to revolutionise our world.


1 Ancient Algorithms
2 Ever Expanding Circles
3 Computer Dreams
4 Weather Forecasts
5 Artificial Intelligence Emerges
6 Needles in Haystacks
7 The Internet
8 Googling the Web
9 Facebook and Friends
10 America's Favourite Quiz Show
11 Mimicking the Brain
12 Superhuman Intelligence
13 Next Steps


Chris Bleakley has thirty-five years of experience in algorithm design. He has taught and written on the subject for the last sixteen of those years. As a school kid, Chris taught himself how to program on a cheap home computer. Within two years, he was selling his own computer programs by mail-order to customers throughout the UK. Chris graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Computer Science from Queen's University, Belfast, and a PhD degree in Electronic Engineering from Dublin City University. After college, he was employed as a software consultant by Accenture and, later, as a senior telecommunications researcher at Broadcom Eireann Research.