Automata Studies.
SHANNON, C[laude] E., and J[ohn] McCarthy, editors.

Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1956. First edition. Ink signature of C.E. Leith on half-title. Spine faded. A very good copy. Original orange printed wrappers. Octavo. [ix], 285, [1] pp. Diagr (Item ID: 15511)

$650.00

An important collection of papers on automata theory, a branch of mathematical logic based on the hypothetical “logic machines” of Post and Turing, and particularly on Turing’s finding that “there is a universal automaton [i.e., one with an unlimited number of states] in the sense that it can calculate any sequence that any special automaton can, provided only that it receives the appropriate set of input orders” (Goldstine, p. 274). Contains one of the last important articles of computer pioneer John von Neumann (“Probabilistic Logics and the Synthesis of Reliable Organisms from Unreliable Components,” pp. 43-98), who was making important investigations into self-reproducing automata and automata formed from unreliable parts at the time of his death in 1957. Also contains articles by Marvin L. Minsky and John McCarthy, who established the basic concepts of artificial intelligence; Ross Ashby, author of the influential Design for a Brain (1948), and Claude Shannon, whose Mathematical Theory of Communication ushered in the information age.

Leith worked in the Radiation Laboratory of Ernest Lawrence while a graduate student at Berkeley in the 1940s, then, after a hiatus in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, working on the Manhattan Project, he returned to Berkeley and started working at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory shortly after it was founded in 1952. He developed an interest in numerical weather prediction, a field that also interested John Von Neumann and Edward Teller, and in 1960 he initiated a project dealing with Atmospheric General Circulation Modeling, programming Livermore's supercomputers. He had a working five-level model by 1961, and he puglished his work in 1965 in "Numerical Simulation of the Earth's Atmosphere," (Methods in Computational Physics, eds. B. Alder, S. Fernbach, and M. Rotenberg (New York: Academic Press, 1965), 1-28. The material in Automata Studies was clearly highly relevant to his work.

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