Foreword: A Computable Universe, Understanding Computation and Exploring Nature As Computation by Roger Penrose.
I am most honoured to have the privilege to present the Foreword to this fascinating and wonderfully varied collection of contributions, concerning the nature of computation and of its deep connection with the operation of those basic laws, known or yet unknown, governing the universe in which we live. Fundamentally deep questions are indeed being grappled with here, and the fact that we find so many different viewpoints is something to be expected, since, in truth, we know little about the foundational nature and origins of these basic laws, despite the immense precision that we so often find revealed in them. Accordingly, it is not surprising that within the viewpoints expressed here is some unabashed speculation, occasionally bordering on just partially justified guesswork, while elsewhere we find a good deal of precise reasoning, some in the form of rigorous mathematical theorems. Both of these are as should be, for without some inspired guesswork we cannot have new ideas as to where look in order to make genuinely new progress, and without precise mathematical reasoning, no less than in precise observation, we cannot know when we are right — or, more usually, when we are wrong.
An unlikely volume to search for data mining or semantic modeling algorithms or patterns.
But one that should be read for the mental exercise/discipline of its reading.
The asking price of $138 (US) promises a limited readership.
Plus a greatly diminished impact.
When asked to participate in collections, scholars/authors should ask themselves:
How many books have I read from publisher X?*
*Read, not cited, is the appropriate test. Make your decision appropriately.
If republished as an accessible paperback, may I suggest: “Exploring the Nature of Computation”?
The committee title makes the collage nature of the volume a bit too obvious.