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O'Reilly Open Source Convention


Von Neumann's Universe: Coding (and Engineering) at the IAS, 1945-1956
George Dyson, Historian of Technology

Track: Keynote
Date: Friday, July 11
Time: 8:45am - 9:30am
Location: Oregon Ballroom

"'Words' coding the orders are handled in the memory just like numbers," announced John von Neumann (1903-1957) at the first meeting of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) Electronic Computer Project on November 12, 1945. Breaking the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things unleashed the full power of concepts that had been introduced by Godel in 1931 and Turing in 1936. With five kilobytes of random-access memory, von Neumann's team sparked the revolution that brings us here. From the very beginning, open source was in the lead.

George Dyson (author of Darwin Among the Machines and Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study for 2002-2003) presents new material illustrating the highlights of hardware and software development at the IAS, with an emphasis on some pioneering work in computational biology (with evolutionary genetics as the archetype of an open source process) in which the Institute took the lead.

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