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Issue No.01 - January (2007 vol.40)
pp: 102
Published by the IEEE Computer Society




    Thinking about Android Epistemology, Kenneth M. Ford, Clark Glymour, and Patrick J. Hayes, eds. For millennia, the great problems of philosophy have all been about people: Questions of epistemology and philosophy of mind have concerned human capacities and limitations. Still, say this book's editors, there should be theories about other sorts of minds, other ways that physical systems can be organized to produce knowledge and competence.

    The emergence of artificial intelligence provided a way to study the powers and limits of systems that learn, to theorize and to make theories sufficiently concrete so that their properties and consequences can be demonstrated. In this updated version of 1995's Android Epistemology, computer scientists and philosophers—including Herbert Simon, Daniel Dennett, and Paul Churchland—offer a gentle, unsystematic introduction to alternative systems of cognition. They look at android epistemology from both theoretical and practical points of view, offering not only speculative proposals but ideas for using computational systems to expand human capacities.

    The AAAI Press; www.aaai.org; 0-262-56217-0; 384 pp.

    The Pentium Chronicles: The People, Passion, and Politics Behind Intel's Landmark Chips, Robert P. Colwell. This book describes the architecture and key decisions that shaped the P6, Intel's most successful chip to date. The chip's chief architect, Colwell offers a unique perspective as he unfolds the saga of a project that ballooned from a few architects to hundreds of engineers.

    Far more than a treatise on project management, this book describes the rationale, personal triumphs, and humor that characterized the P6 project, an undertaking that broke all technical boundaries by being the first to try an out-of-order, speculative superscalar architecture in a microprocessor.

    As its subtitle implies, the book looks beyond RTL models and transistors to the Intel culture, often poking fun at corporate policies such as team-building exercises in which engineers ruthlessly shoot down each other's plans. Informative and amusing, the book will leave readers with a better understanding of what it takes to create and grow a winning product.

    Wiley-Interscience; www.wiley.com/ieeecs; 0-471-73617-1; 208 pp.

    Cryptography for Developers, Tom St. Denis. Developers tasked with security problems are often not cryptographers themselves. They are bright people who, with careful guidance, can implement secure cryptosystems. This book will guide developers in their journey toward solving cryptographic problems.

    Topics covered include ASN.1 encoding, random-number generation, the Advanced Encryption Standard, hash functions, message authentication code algorithms, large-integer arithmetic, and public-key algorithms.

    Syngress; www.syngress.com; 1-597-49104-7; 448 pp.

    Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design, Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie A. Nardi. Activity theory holds that our interaction with people and artifacts in the context of everyday activity shapes the human mind. This book makes the case for activity theory as a basis for understanding our relationship with technology.

    The authors describe activity theory's principles, history, and relationship to other theoretical approaches, and its application to the analysis and design of technologies. The book provides the first systematic entry-level introduction to the major principles of activity theory, describing the accumulating body of work in interaction design informed by activity theory, drawing on work from an international community of scholars and designers.

    Examining the notion of the object of activity, the authors describe its use in an empirical study and discuss key debates in the development of activity theory. Finally, they outline current and future issues in activity theory, providing a comparative analysis of the theory and its leading theoretical competitors within interaction design: distributed cognition, actor-network theory, and phenomenologically inspired approaches.

    MIT Press; mitpress.mit.edu; 0-262-11298-1; 344 pp.

    Phishing and Countermeasures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft, Markus Jakobsson and Steven Myers, eds. This book begins with a technical introduction to the problem, setting forth the tools and techniques that phishers use, along with the current security technology and countermeasures used to thwart them.

    Readers learn about current phishing techniques as well as emerging threats and the countermeasures needed to stop them. The potential and limitations of all countermeasures presented in the text are explored in detail. Although phishing attacks constantly evolve, much of the material in this book will remain valid because the book covers general principles as much as actual phishing instances.

    With phishing an ever-growing threat, the strategies presented in this text can be vital for technical managers, engineers, and security professionals tasked with protecting users from unwittingly giving out sensitive data.

    Wiley-Interscience; www.wiley.com; 0-471-78245-9; 700 pp.

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