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$6,838
pledged of $16,384pledged of $16,384 goal
148
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, May 10 2012 5:17 AM UTC +00:00
$6,838
pledged of $16,384pledged of $16,384 goal
148
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, May 10 2012 5:17 AM UTC +00:00

About

I hope to explain, in one book, how quantum physics, materials science, and the theory of computation give rise to the modern microprocessor. While some mathematical sophistication is required for a full treatment, the majority of the book will be accessible to any motivated reader with high school mathematical training. This is not a textbook, though it will involve significant portions of the undergraduate and graduate curricula in computer science.

After reading The Finest Machine, the sedulous reader will understand the physical limits of computational devices, how silicon and optics yield computational structures, and the conceptual boundaries of computational theory. We start with electrons, build up through ALUs and compilers, and end at the brain. Along the way, we'll learn things like why your cell phone has multiple cores, why we use bits instead of trits or quatrits, the ancient art of single-instruction set computing, and why people who quip that "the universe is a computer" seem never to have time nor space sufficient for their algorithms.

Initial sketch at a table of contents: http://dank.qemfd.net/the-finest-machine.pdf

By the way, (LaTeX) source code for the book is available: https://github.com/dankamongmen/thefinestmachine. Note that a $5k backer means source for the entirety will be made available upon publication! Note that I will likely honestly do so regardless, because information wants to be free, and this is all about getting the book written, not hoarding it once I'm done :D.

Computer science is my great passion. I've been programming for more than four-fifths of my life, and in that time learned many things which I pieced together only much later. This book, I hope, will provide a meaningful consilience; I dream it will perhaps help foster far greater computer scientists than I could ever hope to be. Even if those lofty ambitions aren't met...well, it ought be a hell of a lot of fun to read.

(Need proof that I'm for real? Look around at http://dank.qemfd.net/dankwiki/index.php/Compiler_Design, http://dank.qemfd.net/dankwiki/index.php/Programming_Language_Theory, http://dank.qemfd.net/dankwiki/index.php/Architecture and, say, http://dank.qemfd.net/dankwiki/index.php/Nuclear_weapons from my wiki.)

The target amount, minus fees, will allow me to take three months' sabbatical to do necessary researches and write the core of the text. I have been shaping this book in my head for many years; help me finally get it down as text! Thank you, and hack on.

update Sun Apr 22 04:20:56 EDT 2012: people, your response has been tremendous and overwhelming. you are all awesome. i've been motivated to commit to the Kicking it Forward (http://kickingitforward.org) project -- should funding succeed, i'll donate 5% of all post-tax profits to Kickstarter projects. what a cool idea!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Free electronic edition. Thanks on the project's website, and in the electronic edition of the book.

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    Autographed first-run paperback edition. Thanks on the project's website, and in the electronic edition of the book.

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    Autographed first-run hardback edition. Thanks on the project's website, and in the electronic edition of the book.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    An autographed first-run hardback and paperback, thanks in all media, and an email sent to Dan Moore in your name saying "here's the $100 reward; sorry i can't come up with more permutations of free copies and thanks."

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Five autographed first-run hardback editions (great gifts!). Thanks on the project website's "Benefactors" section, in the electronic edition, and in the printed edition.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Everything you get at the $500 level, plus advisory rights on naming of metasyntactic characters (aka Alyssa P. Hacker, Ben Bitdiddle, Eva Lu Ator, Louis Reasoner, George P. Burdell, etc).

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    If any single donor ponies up $5k, I'll make the electronic edition free, and open source the LaTeX text and all peripheral tools. You'll be credited (if you wish) for making this awesome possibility a reality!

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Funding period

- (20 days)