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In this book, Douglas Hoffstadter examines a whole host of topics around the subjects intelligence, consciousness, information, mathematics, recursion, symbolic systems, emergent behaviour...

The title relates to

  • Kurt Godel - a mathematician and author of Godels Theorem - a recursive proof which defines some of the limits of symbolic systems (like arithmetic or computer programs)
  • MCEscher - an artist, much of whose art examines the concepts of space through visual "tricks"
  • JSBach - a composer - who composed music containing complex mathematical patterns - such as his fugues and cannons.

What these three have in common is the generation of high-level patterns from lower-level recusive systems.

The book also contains some great pictures, and a variety of mathematical puzzles - some of which I coded up in Prolog.

Find it in a book store and have a flick through - don't be put off if you don't know about music/art/maths - the book makes each more understandable by drawing in themes from the others.

-- Andy Pryke - 03 Jul 2001
Topic revision: r1 - 03 Jul 2001, andyp
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