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Over the past sixty years, the spectacular growth of the technologies associated with the computer is visible for all to see and experience. Yet, the science underpinning this technology is less visible and little understood outside the professional computer science community. As a scientific discipline, computer science stands alongside the likes of molecular biology and cognitive science as one of the most significant new sciences of the post Second World War era. In this Very Short Introduction, Subrata Dasgupta sheds light on these lesser known areas and considers the conceptual basis of computer science. Discussing algorithms, programming, and sequential and parallel processing, he considers emerging modern ideas such as biological computing and cognitive modelling, challenging the idea of computer science as a science of the artificial. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Luciano Floridi unpacks this fundamental concept - what information is, how it is measured, its value and meaning - cutting across the sciences and humanities, from DNA to the Internet, and the ethical issues related to privacy, copyright, and accessibility.
Networks are involved in many aspects of everyday life, from food webs in ecology and the spread of pandemics to social networking and public transport. This Very Short Introduction explores the basics of network theory to understand the science of complexity and its importance, using examples from nature, technology, and society, and history.
There is a companion web site asssociated with the book (http://vsicomputer.wordpress.com/). It contains chapter summaries, links to relevant material and posts about items of news relevant to the book's contents. Computers have changed so much since the room-filling, bulky magnetic tape running monsters of the mid 20th century. They now form a vital part of most people's lives. And they are more ubiquitous than might be thought - you may have more than 30 computers in your home: not just the desktop and laptop but think of the television, the fridge, the microwave. But what is the basic nature of the modern computer? How does it work? How has it been possible to squeeze so much power into increasingly small machines? And what will the next generations of computers look like? In this Very Short Introduction, Darrel Ince looks at the basic concepts behind all computers; the changes in hardware and software that allowed computers to become so small and commonplace; the challenges produced by the computer revolution - especially whole new modes of cybercrime and security issues; the Internet and the advent of 'cloud computing'; and the promise of whole new horizons opening up with quantum computing, and even computing using DNA. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
In this Very Short Introduction, John Holland presents an introduction to the science of complexity. Using examples from biology and economics, he shows how complexity science models the behaviour of complex systems.
Forensic science is a subject of wide fascination. What happens at a crime scene? How does DNA profiling work? How can it help solve crimes that happened 20 years ago? In forensic science, a criminal case can often hinge on a piece of evidence such as a hair, a blood trace, half a footprint, or a tyre mark. High profile cases such as the Stephen Lawrence enquiry and the Madeleine McCann case have attracted enormous media attention and enhanced this interest in recent years. However, the public understanding of forensic science is poor, and largely based on TV shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which exploit high-tech imagery for dramatic effect. Forensic science is a complex activity at the interface of science and law. However, it also deals with real life issues and its results are interpreted within unique situations. Complex scientific findings must be considered carefully, dispassionately, and communicated with clarity, simplicity, and precision. In this Very Short Introduction, Jim Fraser introduces the concept of forensic science and explains how it is used in the investigation of crime. He begins at the crime scene itself, explaining the principles and processes of crime scene management. He explores how forensic scientists work; from the reconstruction of events to laboratory examinations. He considers the techniques they use, such as fingerprinting, and goes on to highlight the immense impact DNA profiling has had. Providing examples from forensic science cases in the UK, US, and other countries, he considers the techniques and challenges faced around the world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Modern statistics is very different from the dry and dusty discipline of the popular imagination. In its place is an exciting subject which uses deep theory and powerful software tools to shed light and enable understanding. And it sheds this light on all aspects of our lives, enabling astronomers to explore the origins of the universe, archaeologists to investigate ancient civilisations, governments to understand how to benefit and improve society, and businesses to learn how best to provide goods and services. Aimed at readers with no prior mathematical knowledge, this Very Short Introduction explores and explains how statistics work, and how we can decipher them. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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