24 Recommended Reading from MIT Press

24 Recommended Reading from MIT Press | Abakcus

People are looking for illumination. And many of us are looking for added time for relaxation and deep reading. Books from MIT Press seem like an attractive solution.

MIT faculty and staff have been working hard and publishing new elegant books for lifelong learners!

Is MIT Press Good?

Established in 1962, the MIT Press is one of the largest and most distinguished university presses in the world and a leading publisher of books and journals at the intersection of science, technology, art, social science, and design.

These 24 books will provide you with high-quality information! Whether you’re looking to build perfect knowledge or understand our world, put these books on your wish list. Happy reading!

By the way, you should also check out, 73 Beautiful Books from the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series.

“Most robots don’t make good friends. They mow the grass, remove bombs, sweep the rug, even do surgery—but they can’t hold a conversation. It’s difficult to look someone in the eyes. Wouldn’t it be better if the robots were less mechanical and more social if the future promises more human-robot collaboration in both work and play? In his book How to Grow a Robot, Mark Lee investigates ways to make robots more approachable, pleasant, and interesting.

Many believe that advances in artificial intelligence, particularly Deep Learning, will serve as the cornerstone for our future with robots. Self-driving cars and chess match-winning algorithms are already products of these technological advancements. But according to Lee, we need observant, dynamic, and responsive robots—more like people than machines, social rather than robotic, and playful rather than programmed. He contends that the best way to do this is to “raise” a robot so that it may learn from experience, just like a baby.

After outlining “what’s wrong with artificial intelligence”—one major drawback being that it isn’t embodied—Lee introduces a different strategy for creating robots that resemble people: developmental robotics, which is motivated by developmental psychology and its accounts of early infant behavior. He explains how the iCub learns from its own experiences by describing his own trials with the iCub humanoid robot and its progression from neonatal helplessness to ability levels equal to a nine-month-old. AI robots are built to view people as objects, while future robots will gain empathy. Developmental robots will connect with people more effectively if they have an internal model of “self.” We should strive for that kind of technology in the future.”

“The foundation of a liberal arts education in computer science is emphasized in this introduction to programming. Unlike other introductory books, it focuses on the program design process, presenting program design guidelines that show the reader how to analyze a problem statement, how to formulate concise goals, how to make up examples, how to develop an outline of the solution, how to finish the program, and how to test it. The work does not employ an off-the-shelf industrial language but delivers a tailored instructional language because learning to create programs is about studying concepts and acquiring transferrable skills. It also provides DrRacket, a programming environment for beginners that encourages interactive, feedback-focused learning for the same reason. As readers gain mastery of the information in the book, the environment develops alongside them until it can support a full-fledged language for the complete range of programming jobs.

This second edition has undergone a thorough revision. The second edition introduces many design recipes for interactive programs with graphical user interfaces and batch processes, although the book still teaches a methodical approach to program design. It also adds various new clues to its design recipes for functionalities. Finally, testing, event-driven programming, images as plain values, and even distributed programming are now supported by the teaching languages and their IDE.”

“a thorough introduction to the most recent findings and theories in computer game learning and instruction.
This book thoroughly introduces the most recent findings in the field of computer game-based learning and training. Handbook of Game-Focused Learning is grounded on psychological and learning sciences theory and is based on empirical findings, in contrast to other works on the subject that focus on game development or best practices. Leading researchers in the field who contributed to the article provide a variety of viewpoints, including cognitive, motivational, emotional, and sociocultural ones. They examine studies on whether (and how) computer games can assist students in learning academic material and skills, as well as which game features, such as feedback, incentives, adaptivity, narrative theme, and game mechanics, can enhance the educational value of these games. They also look at applications, such as games for learning STEM subjects, developing cognitive skills, learning for the workforce, and assessment.

Both readers with a practical interest in building or choosing efficient game-based learning environments and academics who undertake or assess the research in the area will find the Handbook invaluable. Furthermore, it can be applied in classes on the play, cognition, motivation, affect, instruction, and technology.”

“In this book, Edward Ashford Lee makes the audacious argument that those who create digital technology have access to an unrivaled creative medium. Technology has developed to the point where the only thing preventing further advancement now appears to be human imagination. In his writing for both numerate technologists and literate humanists, Lee presents a case for engineering—creating technology—as a genuine intellectual and fundamentally artistic activity. Lee contends that the real strength of technology comes from its partnership with humans, which helps to explain why digital technology has been so transformational and freeing.

Lee investigates how engineers create imaginative artificial worlds and give us things we never imagined possible, such as the capacity to carry everything that humans have ever written in our pockets. However, he also makes an effort to challenge the overzealous optimism of some technophiles who insist that everything in the physical world is a computation and that even such intricate phenomena as human intellect are software running on digital data. According to Lee, the chance that nature has restricted itself to methods that fit into our current conception of digital computation is distant, and the evidence supporting it is weak.

According to Lee, artificial intelligence aims to replicate human cognitive abilities in computers, but this significantly underestimates the power of computers. He believes that humankind and technology are coevolving. While we support, develop, and spread the technology itself, it improves our mental and physical capacities. Competition is less likely to occur than complementarity.”

“People intuitively understand numbers. Even before they understand the words for numbers, infants are able to make estimates and perform calculations. How did we get this aptitude for numbers? Andreas Nieder discusses how our brains comprehend numbers in his book A Brain for Numbers. According to him, our biological history and the development of our unique minds can both be used to trace the origins of our numerical aptitude. It is not based on our capacity for language usage, as has been generally claimed. The nonsymbolic numerical capabilities we received from our ancestors gave us our symbolic mathematical talents. According to Nieder, the fundamental ideas of mathematics are reflections of the mental wiring that underlies them.

According to Nieder’s investigation into how the brain functions, numerical aptitude can be traced to special “number neurons” in the brain. He presents a fresh, comprehensive explanation of the aptitude for numbers by drawing on a variety of techniques, such as brain imaging techniques, behavioral trials, and twin studies. Along the way, he examines the advantages that animals gain from having the ability to count in comparison to humans. He demonstrates how more complex numerical abilities have their evolutionary roots in the nonverbal quantification ability of the brain. He talks about how the brain represents number signs and symbols, calculation ability, and the “neuropathology” of mathematical genius, as well as the “start-up tools” for counting and the development of dyscalculia (a number disorder similar to dyslexia in reading), and how the brain interprets the abstract idea of zero.”

“Nature is abundant with patterns supported by mathematical concepts, such as the stripes on a zebra, the web of a spider, sand dunes, and snowflakes. In his book The Beauty of Numbers in Nature, Ian Stewart demonstrates how life arises from mathematical principles. The Beauty of Numbers in Nature examines several patterning systems and their mathematical foundations in each chapter. The book also reveals several common patterns that may be seen in both natural and human-made structures, ranging from the simple geometry of classical Greece to the intricate intricacy of fractals.

Stewart examines the mathematics of patterns by drawing on a variety of sources, including the Pythagoreans’ obsession with numbers as the philosophical foundation of the universe, a great mathematician who pondered how a violin makes music, a patent office clerk who realized that space and time could be mixed up, and a rebellious mathematician who questioned why nature shuns such regular geometric shapes as spheres and cylinders in favor of jagged lightning bolts and asy

The book opens with a straightforward and frequently posed query regarding snowflakes’ design and individual uniqueness. How can a tiny amount of frozen water contain such an odd combination of regularity and irregularity? Readers will have discovered by the book’s conclusion that mathematical patterns can take on many different forms, some of which bear no resemblance to patterns at all.”

“Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI scrutinized scientists in fields ranging from physics to sex research with a dubious eye because of their lack of knowledge, misinformation, and unjustified concerns. If the Bureau monitored writers due to their beliefs (as revealed in Writers Under Surveillance), it monitored scientists due to their knowledge. When the Soviet Union and the United States regarded each other with mutual hostility that seemed certain to result in mutual destruction, scientific ideals like the free exchange of information were perilous. Using actual typewritten, teletyped, and hand-annotated FBI files, Scientists Under Surveillance compiles information on some of America’s most well-known scientists.

Readers learn that Isaac Asimov was a top suspect in the search for a Soviet informant with the code name ROBPROF at the time that he was a professor at Boston University’s School of Medicine (the rationale perhaps being that he wrote about robots and was a professor). Some of the information in Richard Feynman’s “hefty” FBI file was based on a physics conference invitation that agents discovered while searching the Soviet ambassador’s trash; other documents in Feynman’s file cite an informant who called him a “master of deception” (the informant may have been Feynman’s ex-wife). Additionally, the collaboration between the Bureau and Alfred Kinsey, the author of The Kinsey Report, was advantageous for both parties as they used each other’s data.

The documents gathered for Scientists Under Surveillance were obtained through FOIA requests made by MuckRock, a nonprofit organization working on a long-term initiative to liberate American history from the closed filing cabinets of government organizations.”

“Long before Aristotle struggled with Zeno’s paradox, philosophers were enthralled by paradox. The MIT Press Essential Knowledge author Margaret Cuonzo examines paradoxes and the methods employed to resolve them in this book. She discovers that paradoxes can inspire fresh ways of thinking and go beyond being simple puzzles.

A group of seemingly truthful propositions that are all mutually inconsistent is known as a paradox. Paradoxes show up in real life as well as in salons and ivory towers. (A picture of an ashtray with the “no smoking” symbol written on it appears when you search for “paradox” on the Internet.) Cuonzo claims that offering solutions is a typical reaction to paradoxes. Regardless of whether any of the most potent paradoxes can even be solved, she challenges us to reconsider paradoxes by focusing on solutions, saying that there are many lessons to be learned from this.

Cuonzo provides a list of methods for resolving paradoxes, including the Preemptive-Strike, the Odd-Guy-Out, the You-Can’t-Get-There-from-Here, and the You-Can’t-Get-There-from-Here (denying the validity of the reasoning). She contends that some solutions are more effective than others in particular situations and that the likelihood of some techniques succeeding decreases as paradoxicality rises. Cuonzo demonstrates the appeal and significance of the processes involved in creating paradoxes and suggesting solutions. Knowing how to answer a paradox results in new paradoxes being created and new paradoxes being created as a result of the notions utilized in new sciences. “How great that we have met with a paradox,” wrote Niels Bohr. We can finally see some signs of development now. “

“perspectives from other fields on the ability to understand, enjoy and create music.

According to research, everyone has a musical tendency, just as they do with language. Even if we can’t carry a song or think of ourselves as “unmusical,” all of us can sense and appreciate music. This book presents interdisciplinary viewpoints on how people might perceive, enjoy, and create music. Researchers from a variety of disciplines—including biology, musicology, neurology, genetics, computer science, anthropology, psychology, and more—examine the functions of music, why it is present in all human cultures, whether musicality is a trait that is unique to humans and the biological and cognitive processes that underlie it.

Contributors examine challenges in understanding the evolution of music, lay out a research agenda in musicality, and take into account guiding principles, limitations, and origins ideas. Discuss computer modeling of animal song and creativity; review musicality from a cross-cultural, cross-species, and cross-domain perspective; and provide a historical backdrop for the study of musicality. The book’s objectives include identifying the fundamental neurocognitive processes that underlie musicality (as well as practical methods for studying these in humans and nonhuman animals) and developing a technique for examining musical phenotypes that indicate the biological underpinnings of musicality.”

This delightful read, The Laws of Simplicity, is about design, philosophy, technology, and art. It will teach you how to make your ideas and works simpler and better.

Finally, we are discovering that sanity is simple. We are rebelling against too complex technology, DVD players with many menu options, and software that comes with 75 megabytes of “read me” manuals. The sleek technology of the iPod has made simplicity trendy. The paradox of simplicity, though, can often catch us off guard. We want something that is straightforward and simple to use but that also accomplishes every complex task we might ever need it to. In his book The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda outlines ten principles for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design. These rules can help you need less while really receiving more.

Maeda, an internationally recognized graphic designer and professor at MIT’s Media Lab, investigates the issue of how to redefine the term “better” such that it doesn’t always mean something more, something added on.

Reduce” is Maeda’s first rule of simplicity. Adding technological features isn’t always a good idea because we can. Additionally, Law 2 requires that the features we do have to be arranged logically so that consumers aren’t diverted by functions and features they don’t require. Simplicity, though, is not less for the sake of being less. Go straight to Law 9: Failure: Recognize that some things are never going to be made simple. Maeda’s succinct primer on simplicity in the digital era demonstrates how this concept can serve as the foundation for businesses and the products they produce—how it can influence both business and technology. We can develop the skill of simplification without abandoning ease and significance and reach the equilibrium outlined in Law 10. Maeda refers to this concept as “The One,” and it states that “simplicity is about removing the obvious and adding the meaningful.

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Ali Kaya


Ali Kaya

This is Ali. Bespectacled and mustachioed father, math blogger, and soccer player. I also do consult for global math and science startups.