REVIEW - The Computer Image


The Computer Image


Alan Watt, Fabio Policarpo


Addison-Wesley (1998)




Francis Glassborow


February 1999



This book is the most comprehensive overview of the subject that I have yet seen.

It is sometimes difficult to realise that the very concept of a computer image is little more than twenty years old. Yet it has had a dramatic effect on our lives in a multitude of different ways. If we are to understand the world we will live in during the next couple of decades we need some understanding of what is happening to electronic imagery. Let me give a single example, why can we pack so much more into the same bandwidth by using digital techniques rather than analogue ones? Turn your thoughts back ten years and think about the ideas of videophones. Even as recently as that, most were thinking in terms of conventional analogue transmissions. You need very sophisticated transmission systems to send live two-way analogue video signals. The development of digital technologies has rewritten the rule book. Computer technology and computer imagery have been the major factors in this change.

This book can be read (studied) at several different levels. A quick browse may scare math phobes away but they would miss something worth while. It is entirely possible to read this book, skipping all the maths, and still get good value for your investment of time and money. On the other hand the mathematically inclined can focus on this aspect and consider how to implement the mathematics as computer code.

This book is the most comprehensive overview of the subject that I have yet seen. At the same time it has considerable theoretical depth. Were I still a teacher of maths I would want this book available to my pupils because it is this sort of book that fires young minds and motivates them to study mathematics as well as many other concepts. To the question 'why do I have to study maths?' one answer is simply 'so you can get full benefit from books such as this one.' This is not a book for those in pursuit of instant gratification - fast thoughts to go with fast food - but for those who are willing to take time to digest what they read.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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