<biography, history of philosophy> Hungarian-American mathematician (1903-1957) whose work included study of mathematical logic, set theory, and game theory. The complex calculations required for work on weapons systems led to the invention of modern computing machinery, and von Neumann was the first to devise a functional set of program instructions for an electronic computer. Any device that sequentially reads and performs a stored program, providing for input and output, through a central processing unit, is commonly called a "von Neumann machine." Recommended Reading: John Von Neumann, Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Princeton, 1996); John Von Neumann, The Computer and the Brain, ed. by Paul M. Churchland and Patricia Smith Churchland (Yale, 2000); Oskar Morgenstern and John Von Neumann, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (Princeton, 1980); Norman MacRae, John Von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More (Am. Math. Soc., 2000); William Poundstone, Prisoner's Dilemma: John Von Neumann, Game Theory and the Puzzle of the Bomb (Anchor, 1993); and William Aspray, John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing (MIT, 1990).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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