Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Problem Squares and Virtuous Circles": Review of A History of Algorithms: From the Pebble to the Microchip, edited by Jean-Luc Chabert. Reviewed by Jeremy Gray. Nature, 17 February 2000, pages 703-4.

The History of Algorithms: From the Pebble to the Microchip offers a detailed description of how mathematicians have generated algorithms for calculating specific numbers. Covering calculations ranging from long multiplication and Gaussian elimination to finding square roots and the decimal expansion of pi, the book includes many examples and quotations from original sources. Reviewer Jeremy Gray recommends the book, saying, "...anyone interested in what mathematics really is will enjoy it."

--- Kathryn Leonard