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Friday, June 10, 2011

The Serendipity Machine

Preface vii
1 The information explosion 1
2 The serendipity effect 11
3 Divide and rule 25
4 The platypus effect 43
5 From the Net to the Grid 59
6 Nuggets of knowledge 75
7 Talk to my agent 93
8 Computing and nature 113
9 Pandora’s box 129
10 The Internet turns green 148
11 Virtual worlds 161
12 The global village 175
Further reading 189
Notes 190
Index 199

Computers, we love them and we curse them. No matter what we think about them, we know they have changed the world irrevocably. They have allowed us to make surprising, fantastic and unexpected discoveries. They are serendipity machines.However, computers have also made our world and our lives more complex. From mobile phones to the Internet, we use them to cope with rapid change and global crises. But what of their social impacts, especially when it comes to personal privacy and the role of the Internet in the globalisation of terror?The Serendipity Machine helps us make sense of recent developments in information technology. It explains how innovations such as data mining and evolutionary computing deal with the complexity by exploiting serendipity. It looks at possibilities raised by new technologies of personal agents and virtual communities. And it examines the growing influence of computers in new fields including biotechnology, environmental management and electronic commerce.It also reveals surprising connections b computing and everyday life. What do handbags, platypuses and traffic congestion have to do with computing? Why is computing becoming more and more like electricity supply? And why do computer scientists increasingly look to nature for inspiration?The Serendipity Machine is an engaging and insightful trek through the new worlds of information technology with plenty of chance discovery on the way

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