Peter J. Denning

Peter J. Denning is Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He is the coauthor of The Innovator's Way: Essential Practices for Successful Innovation and Great Principles of Computing, both published by the MIT Press.

  • Computational Thinking

    Peter J. Denning and Matti Tedre

    An introduction to computational thinking that traces a genealogy beginning centuries before the digital computer.

    A few decades into the digital era, scientists discovered that thinking in terms of computation made possible an entirely new way of organizing scientific investigation; eventually, every field had a computational branch: computational physics, computational biology, computational sociology. More recently, “computational thinking” has become part of the K–12 curriculum. But what is computational thinking? This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers an accessible overview, tracing a genealogy that begins centuries before digital computers and portraying computational thinking as pioneers of computing have described it.

    The authors explain that computational thinking (CT) is not a set of concepts for programming; it is a way of thinking that is honed through practice: the mental skills for designing computations to do jobs for us, and for explaining and interpreting the world as a complex of information processes. Mathematically trained experts (known as “computers”) who performed complex calculations as teams engaged in CT long before electronic computers. The authors identify six dimensions of today's highly developed CT—methods, machines, computing education, software engineering, computational science, and design—and cover each in a chapter. Along the way, they debunk inflated claims for CT and computation while making clear the power of CT in all its complexity and multiplicity.

    • Paperback $15.95
  • Great Principles of Computing

    Great Principles of Computing

    Peter J. Denning and Craig H. Martell

    A new framework for understanding computing: a coherent set of principles spanning technologies, domains, algorithms, architectures, and designs.

    Computing is usually viewed as a technology field that advances at the breakneck speed of Moore's Law. If we turn away even for a moment, we might miss a game-changing technological breakthrough or an earthshaking theoretical development. This book takes a different perspective, presenting computing as a science governed by fundamental principles that span all technologies. Computer science is a science of information processes. We need a new language to describe the science, and in this book Peter Denning and Craig Martell offer the great principles framework as just such a language. This is a book about the whole of computing—its algorithms, architectures, and designs.

    Denning and Martell divide the great principles of computing into six categories: communication, computation, coordination, recollection, evaluation, and design. They begin with an introduction to computing, its history, its many interactions with other fields, its domains of practice, and the structure of the great principles framework. They go on to examine the great principles in different areas: information, machines, programming, computation, memory, parallelism, queueing, and design. Finally, they apply the great principles to networking, the Internet in particular.

    Great Principles of Computing will be essential reading for professionals in science and engineering fields with a “computational” branch, for practitioners in computing who want overviews of less familiar areas of computer science, and for non-computer science majors who want an accessible entry way to the field.

    • Paperback $34.00
  • The Innovator's Way

    The Innovator's Way

    Essential Practices for Successful Innovation

    Peter J. Denning and Robert Dunham

    Two experts show that innovation is a skill that can be learned and describe eight essential practices for achieving success.

    Innovation is the ruling buzzword in business today. Technology companies invest billions in developing new gadgets; business leaders see innovation as the key to a competitive edge; policymakers craft regulations to foster a climate of innovation. And yet businesses report a success rate of only four percent for innovation initiatives. Can we significantly increase our odds of success? In The Innovator's Way, innovation experts Peter Denning and Robert Dunham reply with an emphatic yes. Innovation, they write, is not simply an invention, a policy, or a process to be managed. It is a personal skill that can be learned, developed through practice, and extended into organizations.

    Denning and Dunham identify and describe eight personal practices that all successful innovators perform: sensing, envisioning, offering, adopting, sustaining, executing, leading, and embodying. Together, these practices can boost a fledgling innovator to success. Weakness in any of these practices, they show, blocks innovation. Denning and Dunham chart the path to innovation mastery, from individual practices to teams and social networks.

    • Hardcover $30.00
    • Paperback $22.95