The Emperor's New Kind of Clothes

funny review by in Books, 2014-02-08

Funny product A New Kind of Science A New Kind of Science KBAA25HKK49Q This review took almost one year. Unlike many previous referees (rank them by Amazon.com's "most helpful" feature) I read all 1197 pages including notes. Just to make sure I won't miss the odd novel insight hidden among a million trivial platitudes.

On page 27 Wolfram explains "probably the single most surprising discovery I have ever made:" a simple program can produce output that seems irregular and complex.

This has been known for six decades. Every computer science (CS) student knows the dovetailer, a very simple 2 line program that systematically lists and executes all possible programs for a universal computersuch as a Turing machine (TM). It computes all computable patterns, including all those in Wolfram's book, embodies the well-known limits of computability, and is basis of uncountable CS exercises.

Wolfram does know (page 1119) Minsky's very simple universal TMs...
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