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(TURING, Alan; SHANNON, Claude.)

Symposium on Information Theory.

Report of Proceedings. Held in the Lecture Theatre of the Royal Society, Burlington House, by kind permission of the President & Council.

London, Ministry of Supply, September 1950 Stock Code: 137071

The birth of cybernetics

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Scarce first issue of the first British symposium on "information theory", or cybernetics, the Report for which includes three major papers by Claude Shannon and two contributions to discussion by Alan Turing. WorldCat and Library Hub locates seven copies outside the UK in institutions (3 in the US, and one apiece in Canada, France, the Netherlands, and Germany) and eight institutions in the UK hold copies (UCL, Oxford, Bristol, BL, Royal Society, Cambridge, LSE, and Science Museum). The Origins of Cyberspace copy is the only copy traced at auction.
The symposium was held from 26-29 September 1950. "Claude Shannon, who had published his landmark Mathematical Theory of Communication two years earlier, was the featured speaker, contributing three papers: 'Communication Theory - Exposition of Fundamentals' (pp. 44-7); "General Treatment of the Problem of Coding" (pp. 102-4); and "The Lattice Theory of Information" (pp. 105-7). Alan Turing was also a participant; though he contributed no papers, he took part in the discussions following A. M. Uttley's 'Information, machines and brains', (pp. 193-7) and Eliot Slater's 'Statistics for the chess computer and the factor of mobility' (pp. 198-200)" (OOC). The contents of the Report also includes the full programme, a list of participants divided by country and industry, and a glossary of physiological terms by J. A. V. Bates. A lithographic reprint of the Report was published in New York three years later by the Institute of Radio Engineers.

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Narrow quarto. Original green-grey printed wrappers, wire-stitched, title "Information Theory" hand-lettered in green ink along exposed spine.


Mimeographed from typescript. Numerous full-page diagrams.


Small closed tear along horizontal fold to final leaf, wrappers lightly browned and a little creased, three library markings to front cover (including red stamp of Central Radio Bureau), "Mathematics Division" stamp to head of index. A very good copy, contents a little toned else clean.


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