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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Artificial Life - An Overview
Author:
Christopher G Langton
ISBN:
0 262 62112 6
Publisher:
MIT Press
Pages:
340pp
Price:
£18-95
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
artificial life or intelligence
Appeared in:
10-2
I reviewed the published papers from the Fourth European Conference on Artificial Life in the last issue. This book is considerably cheaper, about a year older (it was published in hardcover in 1995 and rather more designed. By that last I mean that the editor has collected a series of essays/papers commissioned to cover the field whereas the other book consisted of the papers that were actually presented at a specific event.

If you want a good overview of the subject I think this book would be an excellent place to start. It is (in computer specialist terms) relatively cheap while having a high quality of content based on a reasonably planned table of contents.

Like the previous book, it is not targeted at programming practitioners. This time the aim is to give those wanting some understanding of the broad subject area that includes such diverse areas as genetic algorithms, artificial neural networks, biological research tools etc.

Getting to grips with these new areas can prove very profitable. I can still remember my surprise when a company developing software for share price predictions contacted me some years ago. My surprise was because they were interested in such things as Chaos Theory. Such innovative work is not for a journeyman programmer lacking imagination. However if you have imagination studying area of Artificial Life might be just what you need to turn your programming expertise into something special.