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Cloud Computing (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
Most of the information available on cloud computing is either highly technical, with details that are irrelevant to non-technologists, or pure marketing hype, in which the cloud is simply a selling point. This book, however, explains the cloud from the user's viewpoint -- the business user's in particular. Nayan Ruparelia explains what the cloud is, when to use it (and when not to), how to select a cloud service, how to integrate it with other technologies, and what the best practices are for using cloud computing. Cutting through the hype, Ruparelia cites the simple and basic definition of cloud computing from the National Institute of Science and Technology: a model enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. Thus with cloud computing, businesses can harness information technology resources usually available only to large enterprises. And this, Ruparelia demonstrates, represents a paradigm shift for business. It will ease funding for startups, alter business plans, and allow big businesses greater agility. Ruparelia discusses the key issues for any organization considering cloud computing: service level agreements, business service delivery and consumption, finance, legal jurisdiction, security, and social responsibility. He introduces novel concepts made possible by cloud computing: cloud cells, or specialist clouds for specific uses; the personal cloud; the cloud of things; and cloud service exchanges. He examines use case patterns in terms of infrastructure and platform, software information, and business process; and he explains how to transition to a cloud service. Current and future users will find this book an indispensable guide to the cloud.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 05/06/2016
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 280 pages

Computing: A Concise History (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
The history of computing could be told as the story of hardware and software, or the story of the Internet, or the story of "smart" hand-held devices, with subplots involving IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. In this concise and accessible account of the invention and development of digital technology, computer historian Paul Ceruzzi offers a broader and more useful perspective. He identifies four major threads that run throughout all of computing's technological development: digitization--the coding of information, computation, and control in binary form, ones and zeros; the convergence of multiple streams of techniques, devices, and machines, yielding more than the sum of their parts; the steady advance of electronic technology, as characterized famously by "Moore's Law"; and the human-machine interface.Ceruzzi guides us through computing history, telling how a Bell Labs mathematician coined the word "digital" in 1942 (to describe a high-speed method of calculating used in anti-aircraft devices), and recounting the development of the punch card (for use in the 1890 U.S. Census). He describes the ENIAC, built for scientific and military applications; the UNIVAC, the first general purpose computer; and ARPANET, the Internet's precursor. Ceruzzi's account traces the world-changing evolution of the computer from a room-size ensemble of machinery to a "minicomputer" to a desktop computer to a pocket-sized smart phone. He describes the development of the silicon chip, which could store ever-increasing amounts of data and enabled ever-decreasing device size. He visits that hotbed of innovation, Silicon Valley, and brings the story up to the present with the Internet, the World Wide Web, and social networking.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 06/15/2012
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 199 pages

Principles of Neural Design (MIT Press)
Neuroscience research has exploded, with more than fifty thousand neuroscientists applying increasingly advanced methods. A mountain of new facts and mechanisms has emerged. And yet a principled framework to organize this knowledge has been missing. In this book, Peter Sterling and Simon Laughlin, two leading neuroscientists, strive to fill this gap, outlining a set of organizing principles to explain the whys of neural design that allow the brain to compute so efficiently. Setting out to "reverse engineer" the brain -- disassembling it to understand it -- Sterling and Laughlin first consider why an animal should need a brain, tracing computational abilities from bacterium to protozoan to worm. They examine bigger brains and the advantages of "anticipatory regulation"; identify constraints on neural design and the need to "nanofy"; and demonstrate the routes to efficiency in an integrated molecular system, phototransduction. They show that the principles of neural design at finer scales and lower levels apply at larger scales and higher levels; describe neural wiring efficiency; and discuss learning as a principle of biological design that includes "save only what is needed."Sterling and Laughlin avoid speculation about how the brain might work and endeavor to make sense of what is already known. Their distinctive contribution is to gather a coherent set of basic rules and exemplify them across spatial and functional scales.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 06/12/2015
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 568 pages

Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight (MIT Press)
As Apollo 11's Lunar Module descended toward the moon under automatic control, a program alarm in the guidance computer's software nearly caused a mission abort. Neil Armstrong responded by switching off the automatic mode and taking direct control. He stopped monitoring the computer and began flying the spacecraft, relying on skill to land it and earning praise for a triumph of human over machine. In Digital Apollo, engineer-historian David Mindell takes this famous moment as a starting point for an exploration of the relationship between humans and computers in the Apollo program. In each of the six Apollo landings, the astronaut in command seized control from the computer and landed with his hand on the stick. Mindell recounts the story of astronauts' desire to control their spacecraft in parallel with the history of the Apollo Guidance Computer. From the early days of aviation through the birth of spaceflight, test pilots and astronauts sought to be more than "spam in a can" despite the automatic controls, digital computers, and software developed by engineers.Digital Apollo examines the design and execution of each of the six Apollo moon landings, drawing on transcripts and data telemetry from the flights, astronaut interviews, and NASA's extensive archives. Mindell's exploration of how human pilots and automated systems worked together to achieve the ultimate in flight -- a lunar landing -- traces and reframes the debate over the future of humans and automation in space. The results have implications for any venture in which human roles seem threatened by automated systems, whether it is the work at our desktops or the future of exploration.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 09/30/2011
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 381 pages

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World (MIT Press)
"Brilliant and practical, just what we need in these techno-human times." -- Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise HeartMost of us will freely admit that we are obsessed with our devices. We pride ourselves on our ability to multitask -- read work email, reply to a text, check Facebook, watch a video clip. Talk on the phone, send a text, drive a car. Enjoy family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7! Never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, and the unheard conversation at the table. In The Distracted Mind, Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen -- a neuroscientist and a psychologist -- explain why our brains aren't built for multitasking, and suggest better ways to live in a high-tech world without giving up our modern technology.The authors explain that our brains are limited in their ability to pay attention. We don't really multitask but rather switch rapidly between tasks. Distractions and interruptions, often technology-related -- referred to by the authors as "interference" -- collide with our goal-setting abilities. We want to finish this paper/spreadsheet/sentence, but our phone signals an incoming message and we drop everything. Even without an alert, we decide that we "must" check in on social media immediately.Gazzaley and Rosen offer practical strategies, backed by science, to fight distraction. We can change our brains with meditation, video games, and physical exercise; we can change our behavior by planning our accessibility and recognizing our anxiety about being out of touch even briefly. They don't suggest that we give up our devices, but that we use them in a more balanced way.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 09/16/2016
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 303 pages

Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python: With Application to Understanding Data (MIT Press)
This book introduces students with little or no prior programming experience to the art of computational problem solving using Python and various Python libraries, including PyLab. It provides students with skills that will enable them to make productive use of computational techniques, including some of the tools and techniques of data science for using computation to model and interpret data. The book is based on an MIT course (which became the most popular course offered through MIT's OpenCourseWare) and was developed for use not only in a conventional classroom but in in a massive open online course (MOOC). This new edition has been updated for Python 3, reorganized to make it easier to use for courses that cover only a subset of the material, and offers additional material including five new chapters.Students are introduced to Python and the basics of programming in the context of such computational concepts and techniques as exhaustive enumeration, bisection search, and efficient approximation algorithms. Although it covers such traditional topics as computational complexity and simple algorithms, the book focuses on a wide range of topics not found in most introductory texts, including information visualization, simulations to model randomness, computational techniques to understand data, and statistical techniques that inform (and misinform) as well as two related but relatively advanced topics: optimization problems and dynamic programming. This edition offers expanded material on statistics and machine learning and new chapters on Frequentist and Bayesian statistics.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 08/08/2016
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 472 pages

Beyond the Self: Conversations Between Buddhism and Neuroscience (MIT Press)
Buddhism shares with science the task of examining the mind empirically; it has pursued, for two millennia, direct investigation of the mind through penetrating introspection. Neuroscience, on the other hand, relies on third-person knowledge in the form of scientific observation. In this book, Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk trained as a molecular biologist, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist -- close friends, continuing an ongoing dialogue -- offer their perspectives on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, epistemology, meditation, and neuroplasticity. Ricard and Singer's wide-ranging conversation stages an enlightening and engaging encounter between Buddhism's wealth of experiential findings and neuroscience's abundance of experimental results. They discuss, among many other things, the difference between rumination and meditation (rumination is the scourge of meditation, but psychotherapy depends on it); the distinction between pure awareness and its contents; the Buddhist idea (or lack of one) of the unconscious and neuroscience's precise criteria for conscious and unconscious processes; and the commonalities between cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation. Their views diverge (Ricard asserts that the third-person approach will never encounter consciousness as a primary experience) and converge (Singer points out that the neuroscientific understanding of perception as reconstruction is very like the Buddhist all-discriminating wisdom) but both keep their vision trained on understanding fundamental aspects of human life.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 10/27/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 296 pages

Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media (MIT Press)
New media -- we are told -- exist at the bleeding edge of obsolescence. We thus forever try to catch up, updating to remain the same. Meanwhile, analytic, creative, and commercial efforts focus exclusively on the next big thing: figuring out what will spread and who will spread it the fastest. But what do we miss in this constant push to the future? In Updating to Remain the Same, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun suggests another approach, arguing that our media matter most when they seem not to matter at all -- when they have moved from "new" to habitual. Smart phones, for example, no longer amaze, but they increasingly structure and monitor our lives. Through habits, Chun says, new media become embedded in our lives -- indeed, we become our machines: we stream, update, capture, upload, link, save, trash, and troll.Chun links habits to the rise of networks as the defining concept of our era. Networks have been central to the emergence of neoliberalism, replacing "society" with groupings of individuals and connectable "YOUS." (For isn't "new media" actually "NYOU media"?) Habit is central to the inversion of privacy and publicity that drives neoliberalism and networks. Why do we view our networked devices as "personal" when they are so chatty and promiscuous? What would happen, Chun asks, if, rather than pushing for privacy that is no privacy, we demanded public rights -- the right to be exposed, to take risks and to be in public and not be attacked?
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 05/27/2016
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 260 pages

Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play (MIT Press)
In kindergartens these days, children spend more time with math worksheets and phonics flashcards than building blocks and finger paint. Kindergarten is becoming more like the rest of school. In Lifelong Kindergarten, learning expert Mitchel Resnick argues for exactly the opposite: the rest of school (even the rest of life) should be more like kindergarten. To thrive in today's fast-changing world, people of all ages must learn to think and act creatively -- and the best way to do that is by focusing more on imagining, creating, playing, sharing, and reflecting, just as children do in traditional kindergartens.Drawing on experiences from more than thirty years at MIT's Media Lab, Resnick discusses new technologies and strategies for engaging young people in creative learning experiences. He tells stories of how children are programming their own games, stories, and inventions (for example, a diary security system, created by a twelve-year-old girl), and collaborating through remixing, crowdsourcing, and large-scale group projects (such as a Halloween-themed game called Night at Dreary Castle, produced by more than twenty kids scattered around the world). By providing young people with opportunities to work on projects, based on their passions, in collaboration with peers, in a playful spirit, we can help them prepare for a world where creative thinking is more important than ever before.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 08/18/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 203 pages

Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds (MIT Press)
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has endured in the popular imagination for two hundred years. Begun as a ghost story by an intellectually and socially precocious eighteen-year-old author during a cold and rainy summer on the shores of Lake Geneva, the dramatic tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature can be read as the ultimate parable of scientific hubris. Victor, "the modern Prometheus," tried to do what he perhaps should have left to Nature: create life. Although the novel is most often discussed in literary-historical terms -- as a seminal example of romanticism or as a groundbreaking early work of science fiction -- Mary Shelley was keenly aware of contemporary scientific developments and incorporated them into her story. In our era of synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and climate engineering, this edition of Frankenstein will resonate forcefully for readers with a background or interest in science and engineering, and anyone intrigued by the fundamental questions of creativity and responsibility. This edition of Frankenstein pairs the original 1818 version of the manuscript -- meticulously line-edited and amended by Charles E. Robinson, one of the world's preeminent authorities on the text -- with annotations and essays by leading scholars exploring the social and ethical aspects of scientific creativity raised by this remarkable story. The result is a unique and accessible edition of one of the most thought-provoking and influential novels ever written.Essays byElizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow, Heather E. Douglas, Josephine Johnston, Kate MacCord, Jane Maienschein, Anne K. Mellor, Alfred Nordmann
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 04/28/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 320 pages
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