Penn State

Adam D. Smith - associate professor of computer science and engineering, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach : an eternal golden braid

Author: Douglas Hofstadter

Book Description:

This book introduced me to the universe of mathematics beyond high-school calculus and statistics. It offers a whirlwind tour of the ideas that are at the foundations of computer science and mathematical logic, elegantly interlaced with topics in music, visual art, and science that illustrate these ideas. Recursion and self-reference are the guiding themes. Hofstadter does an amazing job of bringing them to life with his own, highly personal takes on the paradoxes that have puzzled philosophers, scientists, and artists for generations.



Hofstadter sets off on an ambitious trek, headed for an explanation of why artificial intelligence may one day come to be. What I enjoyed most about the book, though, were the stops along the way. Gödel, Escher, Bach opened my eyes to the myriad facets of mathematics and the crucial role that computation can play in our understanding of the world. It started me on a path that I, as a computer scientist, am still walking.

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