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Inside the Machine by Jon Stokes

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Preface

(1915-1998)

“The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.”

Richard W. Hamming

When mathematician and computing pioneer Richard Hamming penned this maxim in 1962, the era of digital computing was still very much in its infancy. There were only about 10,000 computers in existence worldwide; each one was large and expensive, and each required teams of engineers for maintenance and operation. Getting results out of these mammoth machines was a matter of laboriously inputting long strings of numbers, waiting for the machine to perform its calculations, and then interpreting the resulting mass of ones and zeros. This tedious and painstaking process prompted Hamming to remind his colleagues that the reams of numbers they worked with on a daily ...

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