Digitized

Peter J. Bentley

Published by

OUP

ISBN

9780199693795

RRP

£16.99

Reviewed by

Sheila Bullas MBCS CITP

Score

10 out of 10

Peter Bentley is an Honorary Reader at the Department of Computer Science, University College London, Collaborating Professor at the Korean Advanced Institute for Science and Technology, a contributing editor for WIRED UK, a consultant and a freelance writer ...a busy guy.

In Digitized, he charts the major breakthroughs in theory and technology from Alan Turing’s original ideas in the 1940s to the current day and the building of bionic brains.

He explores the extent to which computers can think and be creative artists and how far they still have to go. He sets out how computers pervade all parts of our lives and he suggests the journey is only just begun.

This is an extraordinary book that not only maps the technological developments, but also looks at the lives of the extraordinary people that made the leaps of imagination that were required to achieve the amazing developments that are now in common use today. These were people who also had the ability to turn their ideas into reality - either themselves or through seeking out others.

He tracks some of the more innovative work being undertaken today back to their origins: how generations of pioneers have left a trail of ideas and innovations that have all contributed to where we are today and which will form the basis for developments that we can’t even imagine for the future.

One such trail is dear to my heart: that of medical imaging. Starting with the original imaging technology of the X-ray discovered by Röntgen, he tracks the trail through ultrasound developed by John Wild, the idea of 3D from Godfrey Hounsfield and development of its theory by Allan Cormack and so on to the complex image devices that are now in hospitals.

With extensive end notes and a good index, this makes a good reference book as well as a very good read. I have always thought that no book deserved 10 out of 10, but for this one I make an exception.

Further information: OUP

July 2012