Understanding Computation: From Simple Machines to Impossible Programs (Paperback)

Tom Stuart



Finally, you can learn computation theory and programming language design in an engaging, practical way. Understanding Computation explains theoretical computer science in a context you’ll recognize, helping you appreciate why these ideas matter and how they can inform your day-to-day programming.

Rather than use mathematical notation or an unfamiliar academic programming language like Haskell or Lisp, this book uses Ruby in a reductionist manner to present formal semantics, automata theory, and functional programming with the lambda calculus. It’s ideal for programmers versed in modern languages, with little or no formal training in computer science.

  • Understand fundamental computing concepts, such as Turing completeness in languages
  • Discover how programs use dynamic semantics to communicate ideas to machines
  • Explore what a computer can do when reduced to its bare essentials
  • Learn how universal Turing machines led to today’s general-purpose computers
  • Perform complex calculations, using simple languages and cellular automata
  • Determine which programming language features are essential for computation
  • Examine how halting and self-referencing make some computing problems unsolvable
  • Analyze programs by using abstract interpretation and type systems




- 理解語言中的圖靈完備性等基本計算概念
- 發現程式如何使用動態語義將想法傳達給機器
- 探索當計算機被簡化到最基本時可以做什麼
- 了解通用圖靈機如何演變為今天的通用計算機
- 使用簡單的語言和元胞自動機進行複雜計算
- 確定哪些程式語言特性對於計算是必要的
- 通過抽象解釋和類型系統分析程式
- 探討停機問題和自指性如何使某些計算問題無法解決