Saturday, February 2, 2013

Veblen Chapter in Turing's Cathedral

Sections of George Dyson's book on early computer development at the Institute for Advanced Study, including portions of the third chapter entitled "The Veblen Circle", can now be accessed online via Google Books. Dyson spent, if I have the story right, ten years researching and writing the book, including a year at the Institute going through the archives. The chapter tracks Oswald Veblen from his birth in Iowa through his college years (with time out for a trip down the Iowa and Mississippi in the style of Huckleberry Finn), to his transformative career based in Princeton, including the key support he provided to John von Neumann's development at the Institute of one of the world's first computers.

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