Read Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn by Richard Hamming Free Online
Book Title: Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn|
The author of the book: Richard Hamming
ISBN 13: 9780203450710
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 12.80 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.6
Edition: CRC Press
Date of issue: October 1st 1997
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Hamming's essay, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics" (together with Eugene Wigner's precursor piece, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences", is one of the four or five most important papers I've ever read:Prologue. It is evident from the title that this is a philosophical discussion. I shall not apologize for the philosophy, though I am well aware that most scientists, engineers, and mathematicians have little regard for it; instead, I shall give this short prologue to justify the approach.
Man, so far as we know, has always wondered about himself, the world around him, and what life is all about. We have many myths from the past that tell how and why God, or the gods, made man and the universe. These I shall call theological explanations. They have one principal characteristic in common-there is little point in asking why things are the way they are, since we are given mainly a description of the creation as the gods chose to do it.
Philosophy started when man began to wonder about the world outside of this theological framework. An early example is the description by the philosophers that the world is made of earth, fire, water, and air. No doubt they were told at the time that the gods made things that way and to stop worrying about it.
From these early attempts to explain things slowly came philosophy as well as our present science. Not that science explains "why" things are as they are-gravitation does not explain why things fall-but science gives so many details of "how" that we have the feeling we understand "why." Let us be clear about this point; it is by the sea of interrelated details that science seems to say "why" the universe is as it is.
Our main tool for carrying out the long chains of tight reasoning required by science is mathematics. Indeed, mathematics might be defined as being the mental tool designed for this purpose. Many people through the ages have asked the question I am effectively asking in the title, "Why is mathematics so unreasonably effective?" In asking this we are merely looking more at the logical side and less at the material side of what the universe is and how it works.As G. H. Hardy said in A Mathematician's Apology:What is the proper justification of a mathematician’s life? My answers will be, for the most part, such as are expected from a mathematician: I think that it is worthwhile, that there is ample justification. But I should say at once that my defense of mathematics will be a defense of myself, and that my apology is bound to be to some extent egotistical. I should not think it worthwhile to apologize for my subject if I regarded myself as one of its failures. Some egotism of this sort is inevitable, and I do not feel that it really needs justification. Good work is not done by "humble" men. It is one of the first duties of a professor, for example, in any subject, to exaggerate a little both the importance of his subject and his own importance in it. A man who is always asking "Is what I do worthwhile?" and "Am I the right person to do it?" will always be ineffective himself and a discouragement to others. He must shut his eyes a little and think a little more of his subject and himself than they deserve. This is not too difficult: it is harder not to make his subject and himself ridiculous by shutting his eyes too tightly.Every schoolboy, of course, knows Hamming's Codes, without which tkis 2es7age woz7d 333 uNintel3siblke due to 434rror5 (or at least would have aarrrrrriiiiiivvvveeeedddd mooooooreeeeeeee sllllooooooooowwwwllllllllllyyyy). Van Roy highly recommends this slim volume in Concepts Techniques and Models of Computer Programming, and who am I to reject a book by Hamming? Hoping for fun.
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Read information about the authorProfessor Richard Wesley Hamming, Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1942; M.S., University of Nebraska, 1939; B.S., University of Chicago in 1937), was a mathematician whose work had many implications for computer science and telecommunications. His contributions include the Hamming code (which makes use of a Hamming matrix), the Hamming window (described in Section 5.8 of his book Digital Filters), Hamming numbers, sphere-packing (or hamming bound) and the Hamming distance.
Hamming was a professor at the University of Louisville during World War II, and left to work on the Manhattan Project in 1945, programming one of the earliest electronic digital computers to calculate the solution to equations provided by the project's physicists. The objective of the program was to discover if the detonation of an atomic bomb would ignite the atmosphere. The result of the computation was that this would not occur, and so the United States used the bomb, first in a test in New Mexico, and then twice against Japan. Later, from 1946 to 1976, he worked at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he collaborated with Claude Shannon. During this period, he was an Adjunct Professor at the City College of New York, School of Engineering. On July 23, 1976 he moved to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he worked as an Adjunct Professor until 1997, when he became Professor Emeritus. He died a year later in 1998.
He was a founder and president of the Association for Computing Machinery. His philosophy on scientific computing appears as preface to his 1962 book on numerical methods: The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.
Turing Award, Association for Computing Machinery, 1968.
Fellow of the IEEE, 1968.
IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award, 1979.
Member of the National Academy of Engineering, 1980.
Harold Pender Award, University of Pennsylvania, 1981.
IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal, 1988.
Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, 1994.
Basic Research Award, Eduard Rhein Foundation, 1996.
Certificate of Merit, Franklin Institute, 1996
The IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal, named after him, is an award given annually by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), for "exceptional contributions to information sciences, systems and technology", and he was the first recipient of this medal.
Hamming discusses the use and potential of computers in the 1965 film Logic By Machine.