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John von Neumann

“About the only large current of the natural sciences in this century which von Neumann's work has not added to is molecular biology. Almost everything else of any signficance he touched: mathematical logic; pure math; quantum physics; computing (which, as we know it, is largely his invention), cybernetics and automata theory; the Bomb; turbulence; game theory (another invention) and so economics, evolutionary biology, and the theory of war and conflict; artificial life, cellular automata (a third invention), the theory of self-reproduction (which, with molecular biology, finally killed off any last lingering hopes for vitalism) and artificial evolution. What many of us like to think of as new and profound changes in the way science works, brought about by computer modelling and simulation, were forseen and called for by von Neumman in the '40s. If any one person can be said to be the intellectual ancestor of complexity and all that travels alongside it, it was Johnny.”

from these notes


john_von_neumann.txt · Last modified: 2007/06/11 14:33 (external edit)