Tech Book: 9 Algorithms that Changed the Future, John MacCormick

AlgorithmsThatChangedTheFutureThis excellent book introduces algorithms that are heavily used in daily life, yet are unknown to the general public. The author aims to introduce them without requiring advanced knowledge:

I assumed that the great algorithms would fall into two catagories. The first category would be algorithms with some simple yet clever trick at their core – a trick that could be explained without requiring any technical knowledge. The second category would be algorithms that depended so intimately on advanced computer science … Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that all the chosen algorithms fell into the second category!

The book is a fun read and despite knowing some of the details already, it helped to build my appreciation of the algorithms and their applications.

The algorithms covered are:

  • Search engine indexing
  • PageRank
  • Public key cryptography
  • Error-correcting codes
  • Pattern recognition
  • Data compression
  • Databases – reliability and consistency
  • Digital signatures

There’s also an excellent chapter on unsolvable problems, with a nod to Alan Turing.

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