SUBRATA DASGUPTA
scholar, writer, professor

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Sciences of the Artificial and Computer Science
As a graduate student in computer science in the early-mid 1970s, three books profoundly shaped my mind.  One was Karl Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery.  The second was Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  The third was Herbert Simon's The Sciences of the Artificial.  While Popper and Kuhn forced me to think of natural science in very different ways, Simon answered a question I had consciously and unconsciously harbored both as an undergraduate in metallurgical engineering and as a graduate student in computer science  : how does technological knowledge differ from purely scientific knowledge?
      Simon's answer, that there exists a sciences of the artificial which is concerned with, amongst other things, the nature of  the design process made me realize that there is a distinct scientific epistemology underlying all the disciplines that are concerned with design and invention.  I could now re-examine metallurgy in a new way.  More importantly, my vision of computer science was radically altered.  Computer science was neither a branch of mathematics nor a branch of electrical engineering; nor was it a blending of the two.  It was an independent science of the artificial with its own ontology, epistemology and methodolgy. My own work in computer science ever since was shaped by Simon's insight.  The four books I've written in the realm of computer science, as also my papers and articles,  all pay tribute to Simon, certainly, but also to Popper and Kuhn.

THE DESIGN AND DESCRIPTION OF COMPUTER ARCHITECTURES.  John Wiley, New York, 1984.

COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE:  A MODERN SYNTHESIS.  Vol. 1.  Foundations.
   John Wiley, New York, 1989.

COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE:  A MODERN SYNTHESIS.  Vol. 2.  Advanced Topics. 
John Wiley, New York, 1989.

DESIGN THEORY AND COMPUTER SCIENCE. 
  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1991.  Paperback edition 2009.

PRAISE :
"... it delivers an absoutely new approach and raw ideas ... The author feels at home both in the software problems ... and the hardware problems ... He moves between these areas with such elegance that by the end of the book, the reader is impressed with his belief that the borders between software and hardware design are artificial ... the most unbiased and formal book about design that I have encountered.  The new ideas will certainly inspire new research."  ACM Computing Reviews (USA)
 
"... this book ... is marvelously written, full of easy to follow examples ... It draws from a broad knowledge of the literature ... never in danger of becoming shallow.  Dasgupta achieves a rather deep reflection on the philosophical ground of computer systems design without ever becoming philosophical ... Dasgupta's book ... appears as another indication of computer science slowly reaching the state of a science."  Languages of Design (Europe)
 
"... a clearly written and generally well-produced book ... It is long and it is comprehensive ... Overall, I welcome this book and recommend it to all who are interested in the subject of design."  Robotica (USA)
 
"Professor Dasgupta should be commended for completing this ambitious project ... DESIGN THEORY AND COMPUTER SCIENCE is the text that many of us with professional interests in formal design theory and its application in computer science have been awating ... Dr Dasgupta has an eloquent yet informative style of writing ..."  Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems (USA)
 
"The book is scholarly and clearly written, the subject matter is important and of topical interest for AI, and Dasgupta offers thought-provoking theses."  IEEE Expert (USA)


IT BEGAN WITH BABBAGE :  THE GENESIS OF COMPUTER SCIENCE.  Oxford University Press, New York, 2014.

PRAISE:

"It both explores the relationships that drove this history and explains in an admirably accessible style the key ideas that enabled it" -- Paul Rosenbloom., Professor, Department of Computer Science and Institute of Creative Technologies, University of Sounthern California.

"This is a fascinating reflection on a new academic discipline.  It is an intellectual and cultural story woven around the history of automatic computation from 1819 to 1969 ... Taking an even-handed view of developments on either side of the Atlantic, this book is a valuable counterpoint to shallower histories of the subject" -- Simon Lavington, Professor Emeritus, University of Essex.

"... a comprehensive, enlightening history of the emergence of computer science as a new scientific paradigm .... highly recommended" -- Choice.











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