Chapter 5. Amateurs Study Cryptography; Professionals Study Economics

Long before anyone had built a computer, mathematicians were constructing the underlying tools of logic on which all computers are built. The research of mathematicians such as Shannon, Turing, and von Neumann enabled us to understand the limits and possibilities of what computers and the programs running on them might do. Decades of brilliant engineering have allowed us to build increasingly complex systems and make them faster and usually smaller. The underlying mathematics remains unchanged—a testament to the power of good mathematical thinking.

Their origins and very nature make computers mathematical artifacts. Indeed, the deep abstractions of computer science are often ...

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