Posts Tagged ‘books’

Free Range VHDL

Free Range VHDL, by Brian Mealy and Fabrizio Tappero, is the latest in a long line of books written about VHDL. What makes this a unique offering is its simplicity as an introductory text, and the fact that it is absolutely free. The book is offered under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Unported License, and can be downloaded in PDF and LaTeX format from the Free Range Factory website.

The book is far from a complete reference on VHDL, missing coverage of several important topics. These omissions are actually the basis for its strength. As anyone trying to learn a new language can attest, there is a fine line between introducing basic concepts and overloading the reader with unneccesary information. If you want to learn VHDL, this book may not be the final word, but can most certainly serve as the first.

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Logic and madness

What do Bertrand Russell (philosopher, logician and mathematician), Gottlob Frege (the great logician), Georg Cantor (inventor of set theory), David Hilbert (inventor of Hilbert spaces), Kurt Gödel (guru of incompleteness theory), Ludwig Wittgenstein (god of 20th century philosophy), the Greek city of Athens, the Oresteian trilogy and a dog named Manga all have in common?

They all star in the 2009 graphic novel Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou, drawn by Alecos Papadatos and colored by Annie Di Donna. It’s a rip-roaring tale of passion and madness, mixing fiction and reality, with frequent breaches of the fourth wall, and all presented through bright and colorful art and word balloons. For anyone interested in Logic, Mathematics or Philosophy, it presents Russell’s maddening journey during his quest for establishing the foundations of mathematics through logical certainty. It was during this journey that Russell, along with Alfred North Whitehead, wrote their seminal three-volume work, Principia Mathematica.

I first read about the book in the New York Times’ Sunday Books Review way back in the fall of 2009, but was only able to read it during a recent vacation. The story is engaging and entertaining, with just enough provocation for those who are more theoretically inclined to continue learning about these pioneer logicians beyond the pages of the book itself. The art is very reminiscent of Hergé’s ligne claire drawing style. Highly recommended.

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