1970s computer science tomes from UTS


The UTS School of Software had another free book table today. Naturally, with precious remaining shelf space, I hurriedly combed through the treasure and picked up these two classics.

So much changes, but among their photos of IBM punch card machines and logic gates, you get a sense of just how much the fundamentals have stayed the same. I overuse the term, but it really is humbling.

Logical Design of Switching Circuits

By Douglas Lewin, 1968, reprinted 1976.

“This lucidly written book describes those methods of designing logic circuits which have emerged as useful techniques from the vast amount of published work on switching theory. An engineering approach, rather than the more mathematical treatment, has been chosen.”

Computer Organization, 1978

By V. Carl. Hamacher, Zvonko G. Vranesic and Safwar. G. Zaky.

“A considerable number of books on “computer organization” [sic] aimed at first-level specialist courses in computer science and electrical engineering curricula have been published in the last 15 years. These books usually assume background in digital logic. Many books start with a description of the basic parts of digital systems and then proceed to a design of a hypothetical computer, which is intended to illustrate most concepts discussed in the books. Such hypothetical machines are never manufactured, they are seldom subjected to practical constraints. This leaves the reader in a dilemma about the relative merits of various features.

“Our resolve to write a book stems from our experience in teaching computer organization to three distinct types of undergraduates: computer science specialists, electrical engineering undergraduates, and engineering science undergraduates. We feel that a book has to come to grips with problems, even if they are ill-defined. Thus one of our basic decisions was to avoid hypothetical machines and instead make use of examples take from commercially available computers [the PDP-11!].”

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