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REVIEW: "Zimmerman's Algorithm", S. Andrew Swann

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKZIMALG.RVW 20011126 Zimmerman s Algorithm , S. Andrew Swann, 2000, 0-88677-865-4 %A S. Andrew Swann (Steven Swiniarski) %C 375 Hudson Street, New
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 12, 2002
      BKZIMALG.RVW 20011126

      "Zimmerman's Algorithm", S. Andrew Swann, 2000, 0-88677-865-4
      %A S. Andrew Swann (Steven Swiniarski)
      %C 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
      %D 2000
      %G 0-88677-865-4
      %I DAW Books Inc.
      %P 387 p.
      %T "Zimmerman's Algorithm"

      A thriller should have a convoluted plot, but this one has slightly
      too many twists and turns for comfort. It's very difficult to keep
      track of at least three sets of bad guys, and by the time the
      penultimate plot is exposed I had a hard time caring who was
      responsible. Still the action is brisk, and the writing is lively and
      interesting.

      So is the fact that so much technology in the story is basically
      correct. The outcomes are sometimes questionable, such as a computer
      made with superconducting materials that physically (and not just
      electrically) degrade at room temperature. But the fact that
      researchers developing artificial materials are steadily working
      towards room temperature superconductors is true.

      The math isn't that bad, either. There is a slight overemphasis on
      the need for primes in encryption systems, but it is interesting to
      see a recognition of the controversy over enormous computer generated
      proofs.

      The computer work is a bit weaker. Genetic algorithms are not
      terribly well explained in the computer world in general, so it isn't
      surprising that the detail in the book is a bit fuzzy. The discussion
      of computer viruses as a form of artificial life is interesting, as is
      the view of benignity as a survival factor, although the idea of
      masses of undetected viruses hiding out on the Internet is a bit much.
      (I must say, though, that, if you are going to propose the usual
      undetectable virus, one that can write operating systems is a good
      candidate.)

      I would like to know whether the choice of name for the eponymous
      mathematician was influenced by PGP.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001 BKZIMALG.RVW 20011126


      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      It is interesting to note that before the advent of Microsoft
      Windows, `GPF' was better known for its usage in plumbing:
      Gallons Per Flush.
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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