Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Book - Connections: Patterns of Discovery

From the Foreword of James Burke:

In their fascinating analysis of the recent history of information technology, Peter Alesso and Craig Smith reveal the patterns in discovery and innovation that have brought us to the present tipping point...A generation from now every individual will have personally-tailored access to the whole of knowledge...The sooner we all begin to think about how we got here, and where we’re going, the better. This exciting book is an essential first step.


Many people envision scientists as dispassionate characters who slavishly repeat experiments until ‘eureka’ - something unexpected happens. Actually, there is a great deal more to the story of scientific discovery, but 'seeing the big picture' is not easy. Connections: Patterns of Discovery uses the primary tools of forecasting and three archetypal patterns of discovery — the Serendipity, the Proof of Principle, and 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration — to discern relationships of past developments to synthesize a cohesive and compelling vision for the future. It challenges readers to think of the consequences of extrapolating trends, such as Moore’s Law, to either reach real machine intelligence or retrench in the face of physical limitations. From this perspective, the book draws 'the big picture' for the Information Revolution’s innovations in chips, devices, software, and networks. In a collection of compelling chapters, this book shows how the past flows into the future:

• Starting with the inspirational journey of two young inventors creating Google, the world’s best search engine, it identifies the stepping stones toward ‘perfect search.’
• The growth of the Information Superhighway links succeeding proof of principle inventions fueling Moore’s Law: the vacuum tune, the transistor, and the microprocessor, thereby illuminating the next generation of chips.
• The incubator research center of Xerox PARC led the breakthrough in six technologies, only to fail commercially, in contrast to the success of Apple and IBM PC. - setting the stage for innovative breakthroughs in small devices.
• Ray Kurzweil’s vision of accelerating discovery forms the inspiration for the future shape of discovery patterns.
• And much more

With a foreword by James Burke and bursting with fascinating detail throughout, Connections: Patterns of Discovery is a must-read for computer scientists, technologists, programmers, hardware and software developers, students, and anyone with an interest in tech-savvy topics.