Have you done anything amazing today?
Think about it: have you done anything impressive today? Well, the answer depends on your point of view. Have you, perhaps, searched a corpus of billions of documents, picking out the two or three that are most relevant to your needs? Have you stored or transmitted many millions of pieces of information, without making a single mistake—despite the electromagnetic interference that affects all electronic devices? Did you successfully complete an online transaction, even though many thousands of other customers were simultaneously hammering the same server? Did you communicate some confidential information (for example, your credit card number) securely over wires that can be snooped by dozens of other computers? Did you use the magic of compression to reduce a multi-megabyte photo down to a more manageable size for sending in an e-mail? Or did you, without even thinking about it, exploit the artificial intelligence in a hand-held device that self-corrects your typing on its tiny keyboard?
Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today’s Computers