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Exceptions are rare enough to get called out for praise. A few:

Digital Apollo, by David Mindell (development of Apollo guidance and avionics generally)

The Dream Machine by Mitchell Waldrop (technical development leading up to the Arpanet, thence to the Internet)

Colossus, the secrets of Bletchley Park's codebreaking computers, by Jack Copeland et al.

Unfortunately, there's a lot more of the technically unsophisticated junk that Knuth is complaining about, and the excuses offered here rather badly miss the point. ("The history of software is not the history of computer science". Yes, and so? How does a history of software from which all technical detail has been drained away contribute anything of value?)

The original article also calls out such praises in the paragraph starting with "The truth is that regrettably little history of computer science, whether dumb or deep, has been written by trained historians".

Let me reiterate one recommendation in particular, Mechanizing Proof, by Donald MacKenzie. This is a superb introduction to the technical subject of formal methods as well as a superb history! My only regret is that it was published in 2001 and a lot happened in the last decade.


Are there any other works like this? ... I just bought it, and I want to learn what has happened since 2001.

"Ignition" by Clark is another exceptional exception.

Ignition is fantastic and I'm continuously surprised how unknown it is amongst the engine folk at MSFC.

Wow, it's going for $3,115.00 (+ $3.99 shipping & handling) on Amazon. Put this next to Sled Driver on my list of books to buy when I win the lottery.

Would you happen to have a copy of a similarly priced-out book, "How to Avoid Huge Ships"?


Google is your friend and Bob's your uncle.

Seems the bots are getting damn creative. Perused the first few pdf links and they were all "spam" pages in PDF form, with embedded download links i don't dear follow.

Isn't algorithmic pricing fun?

Worldcat indicates that the book is available from various libraries: https://www.worldcat.org/title/ignition-an-informal-history-...

I can't help but link to a classic fight between two algorithmic book bots: http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=358

While fun to watch on Amazon, this is a cruder version of what HFT does on the stock market.

Sure, but Amazon pricing is more amusing: the results are visibly and clearly absurd. HFT done right is much subtler.

Also http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Atomic-Bomb-Anniversary/dp/...

The science was so good that I got a bad grade on my History class paper, because I focused too much on the science and not so much on the "storytelling" of history. Which apparently puts me in good company slongside Knuth :-)

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