Big Data: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Dawn E. Holmes

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198779577

Category: Computers

Page: 152

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Since long before computers were even thought of, data has been collected and organized by diverse cultures across the world. Once access to the Internet became a reality for large swathes of the world's population, the amount of data generated each day became huge, and continues to grow exponentially. It includes all our uploaded documents, video, and photos, all our social media traffic, our online shopping, even the GPS data from our cars. "Big Data" represents a qualitative change, not simply a quantitative one. The term refers both to the new technologies involved, and to the way it can be used by business and government. Dawn E. Holmes uses a variety of case studies to explain how data is stored, analyzed, and exploited by a variety of bodies from big companies to organizations concerned with disease control. Big data is transforming the way businesses operate, and the way medical research can be carried out. At the same time, it raises important ethical issues; Holmes discusses cases such as the Snowden affair, data security, and domestic smart devices which can be hijacked by hackers. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Applied Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Alain Goriely

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191068888

Category: Mathematics

Page: 144

View: 7972

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Mathematics is playing an increasing important role in society and the sciences, enhancing our ability to use models and handle data. While pure mathematics is mostly interested in abstract structures, applied mathematics sits at the interface between this abstract world and the world in which we live. This area of mathematics takes its nourishment from society and science and, in turn, provides a unified way to understand problems arising in diverse fields. This Very Short Introduction presents a compact yet comprehensive view of the field of applied mathematics, and explores its relationships with (pure) mathematics, science, and engineering. Explaining the nature of applied mathematics, Alain Goriely discusses its early achievements in physics and engineering, and its development as a separate field after World War II. Using historical examples, current applications, and challenges, Goriely illustrates the particular role that mathematics plays in the modern sciences today and its far-reaching potential. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Statistics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: David J. Hand

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191578924

Category: Mathematics

Page: 136

View: 8181

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Modern statistics is very different from the dry and dusty discipline of the popular imagination. In its place is an exciting subject which uses deep theory and powerful software tools to shed light and enable understanding. And it sheds this light on all aspects of our lives, enabling astronomers to explore the origins of the universe, archaeologists to investigate ancient civilisations, governments to understand how to benefit and improve society, and businesses to learn how best to provide goods and services. Aimed at readers with no prior mathematical knowledge, this Very Short Introduction explores and explains how statistics work, and how we can decipher them. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Fred Piper,Sean Murphy

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191577758

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 663

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This book is a clear and informative introduction to cryptography and data protection - subjects of considerable social and political importance. It explains what algorithms do, how they are used, the risks associated with using them, and why governments should be concerned. Important areas are highlighted, such as Stream Ciphers, block ciphers, public key algorithms, digital signatures, and applications such as e-commerce. This book highlights the explosive impact of cryptography on modern society, with, for example, the evolution of the internet and the introduction of more sophisticated banking methods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Computer Science: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Subrata Dasgupta

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198733461

Category: Computers

Page: 144

View: 6505

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Over the past sixty years, the spectacular growth of the technologies associated with the computer is visible for all to see and experience. Yet, the science underpinning this technology is less visible and little understood outside the professional computer science community. As a scientific discipline, computer science stands alongside the likes of molecular biology and cognitive science as one of the most significant new sciences of the post Second World War era. In this Very Short Introduction, Subrata Dasgupta sheds light on these lesser known areas and considers the conceptual basis of computer science. Discussing algorithms, programming, and sequential and parallel processing, he considers emerging modern ideas such as biological computing and cognitive modelling, challenging the idea of computer science as a science of the artificial. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The History of Physics

Author: J. L. Heilbron

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019968412X

Category: Science

Page: 184

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How does the physics we know today - a highly professionalized enterprise, inextricably linked to government and industry - link back to its origins as a liberal art in Ancient Greece? What is the path that leads from the old philosophy of nature and its concern with humankind's place in the universe to modern massive international projects that hunt down fundamental particles and industrial laboratories that manufacture marvels? This Very Short Introduction introduces us to Islamic astronomers and mathematicians calculating the size of the earth while their caliphs conquered much of it; to medieval scholar-theologians investigating light; to Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton, measuring, and trying to explain, the universe. We visit the "House of Wisdom" in 9th-century Baghdad; Europe's first universities; the courts of the Renaissance; the Scientific Revolution and the academies of the 18th century; and the increasingly specialized world of 20th and 21st century science. Highlighting the shifting relationship between physics, philosophy, mathematics, and technology - and the implications for humankind's self-understanding - Heilbron explores the changing place and purpose of physics in the cultures and societies that have nurtured it over the centuries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Stephen Mumford

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191640263

Category: Philosophy

Page: 128

View: 4603

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Metaphysics is one of the traditional four main branches of philosophy, alongside ethics, logic and epistemology. It is also an area that continues to attract and hold a fascination for many people yet it is associated with being complex and abstract. For some it is associated with the mystical or religious. For others it is known through the metaphysical poets who talk of love and spirituality. This Very Short Introduction goes right to the heart of the matter, getting to the basic and most important questions of metaphysical thought in order to understand the theory: What are objects? Do colours and shapes have some form of existence? What is it for one thing to cause another rather than just being associated with it? What is possible? Does time pass? By using these questions to initiate thought about the basic issues around substance, properties, changes, causes, possibilities, time, personal identity, nothingness and emergentism, Stephen Mumford provides a clear and simple path through this analytical tradition at the core of philosophical thought. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Astrophysics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: James Binney

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198752857

Category: Science

Page: 144

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Astrophysics is the physics of the stars, and more widely the physics of the Universe. It enables us to understand the structure and evolution of planetary systems, stars, galaxies, interstellar gas, and the cosmos as a whole. In this Very Short Introduction, the leading astrophysicist James Binney shows how the field of astrophysics has expanded rapidly in the past century, with vast quantities of data gathered by telescopes exploiting all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, combined with the rapid advance of computing power, which has allowed increasingly effective mathematical modelling. He illustrates how the application of fundamental principles of physics - the consideration of energy and mass, and momentum - and the two pillars of relativity and quantum mechanics, has provided insights into phenomena ranging from rapidly spinning millisecond pulsars to the collision of giant spiral galaxies. This is a clear, rigorous introduction to astrophysics for those keen to cut their teeth on a conceptual treatment involving some mathematics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable

Networks: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Guido Caldarelli,Michele Catanzaro

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191642738

Category: Social Science

Page: 136

View: 7988

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From ecosystems to Facebook, from the Internet to the global financial market, some of the most important and familiar natural systems and social phenomena are based on a networked structure. It is impossible to understand the spread of an epidemic, a computer virus, large-scale blackouts, or massive extinctions without taking into account the network structure that underlies all these phenomena. In this Very Short Introduction, Guido Caldarelli and Michele Catanzaro discuss the nature and variety of networks, using everyday examples from society, technology, nature, and history to explain and understand the science of network theory. They show the ubiquitous role of networks; how networks self-organize; why the rich get richer; and how networks can spontaneously collapse. They conclude by highlighting how the findings of complex network theory have very wide and important applications in genetics, ecology, communications, economics, and sociology. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Developmental Biology: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Lewis Wolpert

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199601194

Category: Science

Page: 132

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"A concise account of what we know about development discusses the first vital steps of growth and explores one of the liveliest areas of scientific research."--P. [2] of cover.

Projects: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Andrew Davies

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191043400

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 144

View: 5048

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What is a project? How are projects organized to deal with a complex, rapidly changing, and uncertain world? Why are projects the organization of the future? A project is a temporary organization and one-time process established to achieve a desired outcome. Projects range in size from small teams to large international joint-ventures and temporary coalitions of public and private organizations. What distinguishes projects from all other organizational activities - such as mass produced products and services - is that a project is finite in duration, lasting from hours, days, or weeks to years, and in some cases decades. Each project is disposable. It brings together people and resources to accomplish a goal and when the goal is accomplished, the organization disappears. When projects are complex, unpredictable, and changing, their plans have to be flexible and able to adjust to situations that cannot foreseen at the outset. In this Very Short Introduction Andrew Davies looks at how projects have developed since the industrial revolution to create the human-built world in which we live, work, and play. Considering some of our greatest endeavours such as the Erie Canal, Apollo Moon landing, Japanese product development, and Chinese ecocity projects, Davies identifies how projects are organized and managed to design and produce large and complex systems, cope with fast changing conditions, and deal with the immense uncertainties required to create breakthrough innovations in products and services. He concludes by considering how projects could be organized to address the challenges facing the post-industrial society of the 21st century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Risk: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Baruch Fischhoff,John Kadvany

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199576203

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 162

View: 3914

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Risks are everywhere. They come from many sources, including crime, diseases, accidents, terror, climate change, finance, and intimacy. They arise from our own acts and they are imposed on us. In this Very Short Introduction Fischhoff and Kadvany draw on both the sciences and humanities to show what all risks have in common. Do we care about losing money, health, reputation, or peace of mind? How much do we care about things happening now or in the future? To ourselves or to others? All risks require thinking hard about what matters to us before we make decisions about them based on past experience, scientific knowledge, and future uncertainties. Using conceptual frameworks such as decision theory and behavioural decision research, we examine the science and practice of creating measures of risk and look at how scientists apply probability by combining historical records, scientific theories, and expert judgement. Showing what science has learned about how people deal with risks, and applying these to diverse everyday examples, the authors demonstrate how we move from understanding a risk to making a choice in everyday life.

The Animal Kingdom: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter Holland

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199593213

Category: Science

Page: 126

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Molecular biology has revolutionized our understanding of animals and their evolution. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Holland provides an authoritative summary of the modern view of animal life, its origins, and the new classification resulting from DNA studies.

African History: A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Parker,Richard Rathbone

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192802488

Category: History

Page: 165

View: 6055

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This Very Short Introduction is essential reading for anyone interested in the African continent and the diversity of human history, as it looks at Africa's past and reflects on the changing ways it has been imagined and represented. Key themes such as the unity and diversity of African cultures, slavery, religion, colonial conquest and the importance of history in understanding contemporary Africa are illustrated with a range of fascinating historical examples, drawn from over 5 millennia across this vast continent.

The BRICS: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Andrew F. Cooper

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191035041

Category: Political Science

Page: 144

View: 8109

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In the wake of the post-Cold War era, the aftermath of 9/11, the 2008 global financial crisis, and the emergence of the G20 at the leaders level, few commentators expected a reshaping of the global system towards multipolarity, and away from the United States. And yet, the BRICS - encompassing Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - has emerged as a challenge to the international status quo. But what is its capacity as a transformative force? And can it provide a significant counter-narrative to the Western dominated global order? In this Very Short Introduction Andrew Cooper explores the emergence of the BRICS as a concept. Drawing on historical precedent, Cooper provides a contemporary analysis of the BRICS' practice and influence as as a forum and a lobby group in advancing a distinctive but amorphous agenda amongst global politics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Modern India: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Craig Jeffrey

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191082236

Category: History

Page: 144

View: 306

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India is widely recognised as a new global powerhouse. It has become one of the world's emerging powers, rivalling China in terms of global influence. Yet people still know relatively little about the economic, social, political, and cultural changes unfolding in India today. To what extent are people benefiting from the economic boom? Does caste still exist in India? How is India's culture industry responding to technological change? And what of India's rapidly changing role internationally? This Very Short Introduction looks at the exciting world of change in contemporary India. Craig Jeffrey provides a compelling account of the recent history of the nation, investigating the contradictions that are plaguing modern India and the manner in which people, especially young people, are actively remaking the country in the twenty first century. One thing is clear: India is a country that is going to become increasingly important for the world over the next decades. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Mathematics

Author: Timothy Gowers

Publisher: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.

ISBN: 9781402768972

Category: Mathematics

Page: 180

View: 6560

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Mathematics is a subject we are all exposed to in our daily lives, but one that many of us fear. Timothy Gowers’s entertaining overview of the topic explains the differences between what we learn at school and advanced mathematics, and helps the math phobic emerge with a clearer understanding of such paradoxical-sounding concepts as “infinity,” “curved space,” and “imaginary numbers.” From basic ideas to philosophical queries to common sociological questions about the mathematical community, this book unravels the mysteries of space and numbers.

The Computer: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Darrel Ince

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199586594

Category: Computers

Page: 139

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Discusses the basic components of computers; how increasingly miniature parts have led to products, applications, and networks that solve problems; the issues that increased connectivity has produced; and some of the emerging technologies in the field.

Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Timothy Rice

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199794588

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 9862

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Ethnomusicologists believe that all humans, not just those we call musicians, are musical, and that musicality is one of the essential touchstones of the human experience. This insight raises big questions about the nature of music and the nature of humankind, and ethnomusicologists argue that to properly address these questions, we must study music in all its geographical and historical diversity. In this Very Short Introduction, one of the foremost ethnomusicologists, Timothy Rice, offers a compact and illuminating account of this growing discipline, showing how modern researchers go about studying music from around the world, looking for insights into both music and humanity. The reader discovers that ethnomusicologists today not only examine traditional forms of music-such as Japanese gagaku, Bulgarian folk music, Javanese gamelan, or Native American drumming and singing-but also explore more contemporary musical forms, from rap and reggae to Tex-Mex, Serbian turbofolk, and even the piped-in music at the Mall of America. To investigate these diverse musical forms, Rice shows, ethnomusicologists typically live in a community, participate in and observe and record musical events, interview the musicians, their patrons, and the audience, and learn to sing, play, and dance. It's important to establish rapport with musicians and community members, and obtain the permission of those they will work with closely over the course of many months and years. We see how the researcher analyzes the data to understand how a particular musical tradition works, what is distinctive about it, and how it bears the personal, social, and cultural meanings attributed to it. Rice also discusses how researchers may apply theories from anthropology and other social sciences, to shed further light on the nature of music as a human behavior and cultural practice. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Stephen Eric Bronner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190692693

Category: Philosophy

Page: 168

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Critical theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose -- and, if at all possible, cure -- the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of leading representatives of the critical tradition (such as George Lukács and Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas) as well as many of its seminal texts and empirical investigations. This Very Short Introduction sheds light on the cluster of concepts and themes that set critical theory apart from its more traditional philosophical competitors. Bronner explains and discusses concepts such as method and agency, alienation and reification, the culture industry and repressive tolerance, non-identity and utopia. He argues for the introduction of new categories and perspectives for illuminating the obstacles to progressive change and focusing upon hidden transformative possibilities. In this newly updated second edition, Bronner targets new academic interests, broadens his argument, and adapts it to a global society amid the resurgence of right-wing politics and neo-fascist movements.