On the mechanical performance of logical inference

William Stanley JEVONS

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Item#: 20712 price:$3,100.00

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THE FIRST COMPUTER TO SOLVE PROBLEMS AT SUPERHUMAN SPEED, FIRST EDITION, FINE IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS

JEVONS, William Stanley. On the Mechanical Performance of Logical Inference, In Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. 160, Part II, pp. 497-518. London: Taylor and Francis, 1870. Quarto, original printed wrappers, partially unopened. Housed in custom cloth clamshell box. $3100.

First published description of Jevons’ logic machine, the first computing machine to perform at superhuman speed.

Jevons “was the first person to construct a machine with sufficient power to solve a complicated problem faster than the problem could be solved without the machines’ aid” (Goldstine, 272). His “logical piano’ (so named because it closely resembled a small upright piano) “earned him much acclaim, especially after its exhibition at the Royal Society in 1870…It solved problems at superhuman speed and accuracy, and some of its features can be traced in modern computer designs” (DSB). In this paper, Jevons provides a full description of the innovative logic behind his machine and includes three detailed plates (bound in rear) illustrating its structure.

An extraordinary copy in original wrappers of a milestone in logic and computer science.

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