Bookshelf
OCTOBER 2004 (Vol. 37, No. 10) p. 104
0018-9162/04/$31.00 © 2004 IEEE

Published by the IEEE Computer Society
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Imitation of Life, Nancy Forbes. The organization and behavior of biological organisms present scientists with an invitation to reinvent computing for the complex tasks of the future. The author surveys the emerging field of biologically inspired computing and identifies three prominent strains: the use of biology as a metaphor or inspiration for algorithm development; the construction of information processing systems that use biological materials, are modeled on biological processes, or both; and the effort to understand how biological organisms process information.
To show how current researchers use these approaches, the author looks at several key topics, including artificial neural networks, evolutionary and genetic algorithms that search for the fittest among a generation of solutions, and cellular automata.
The MIT Press; http://mitpress.mit.edu; 0-262-06241-0; 176 pp.; $25.95.
Distributed Computing: Fundamentals, Simulations, and Advanced Topics, 2nd ed., Hagit Attiya and Jennifer Welch. The authors present the fundamental issues underlying the design of distributed systems—communication, coordination, synchronization, and uncertainty—as well as fundamental algorithmic concepts and lower-bound techniques.
Focusing on ideas rather than optimizations, this second edition describes major models of distributed computing, including message passing and shared memory communication; synchronous and asynchronous timing models, failures, proofs of correctness, and lower bounds; and leader election, mutual exclusion, and consensus.
Wiley-Interscience; www.wiley.com; 0-471-45324-2; 432 pp.; $89.95.
Digital Storytelling: A Creator's Guide to Interactive Entertainment, Carolyn Handler Miller. This book examines how digital storytelling draws on classic narrative techniques and uses interactive digital technologies to create today's entertainment. It explains key strategies for conveying narrative through digital technologies, based on personal experience and numerous case studies.
The author describes detailed planning processes for all types of interactive projects, including video games, massively multiplayer online games, the Internet, interactive TV, cross-media productions, smart toys, virtual reality, immersive environments, wireless devices, kiosks, and DVDs.
Focal Press; www.focalpress.com; 0-240-80510-0; 472 pp.; $34.95.
Integration-Ready Architecture and Design: Software Engineering with XML, Java, .NET, Wireless, Speech, and Knowledge Technologies, Jeff Zhuk. This textbook integrates theory and practice, going from foundations and concepts to specific applications.
Through insights into most areas of modern CIS and IT, the author provides an entry into the new world of integrated knowledge and software engineering. Readers will learn the salient details regarding J2EE, J2ME, .NET, JSAPI, JMS, JMF, SALT, VoiceXML, WAP, 802.11, CDNA, GPRS, CycL, XML, and multiple XML-based technologies, including RDF, DAML, SOAP, UDDI, and WDSL.
Cambridge University Press; www.cambridge.org; 0-521-52583-7; 640 pp.; $75.00.