The first four chapters of A brief history of computing are similar to what is usually described in the
history section of an introductory computer science (CS) textbook: everything from ancient civilizations like Egypt
to Turing and the first computers. The following chapters, however, contain a lot
of information that will be interesting to most readers--even professionals in the field.
Chapters 5 through 12 describe, in interesting (and not only technical) detail, different
computers as well as different computer-related companies, including their
designers, their business leaders, and their successes and failures. Chapters 13
through 19 contain the history of operating systems,
interfaces, programming languages, software engineering, telecommunications,
the Internet, and smartphones and social media. The history of many other
computing ideas, from distributed systems, cloud computing, and GPS, all the
way to quantum computing, forms chapter 20. Chapter 21 describes the history
of databases, and chapter 22 is devoted to the history of artificial intelligence (AI)--and it would be
useful for incoming CS students to learn that AI is much broader than deep
learning. Finally, chapters 23 and 24 contain an interesting overview of the
history of ethical and legal issues related to computers.
This book is intended for CS students interested in CS history--and it is indeed a perfect source of information for this audience. The book will
also be interesting to nonprofessionals enthused about the history of computing;
they may have to skip a couple of technical paragraphs now and then, but
overall, they will enjoy this book.