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Quantum Computing (Natural Computing Series), 2nd ed.

Mika Hirvensalo

Springer Verlag, 2004, $54.95, ISBN: 3-540-40704-9

A handful of good introductions to ideas in quantum computing—a new, multidisciplinary research area crossing quantum mechanics, theoretical computer science, and mathematics—have appeared in the past few years. This introduction stands out, in being friendly and brief. It provides one of the first overviews of, and introductions to, this nonstandard form of computation from the mathematical and computer science viewpoint.

The field of quantum computing promises to solve some complex problems through a massive use of parallelism’s power, achieved via the properties of quantum physics—in particular, the superposition of bits, known as quantum bits, or qubits. This kind of quantum computing model could give scientists enough power to make longer-range predictions about the weather, for example, or could enable them to decode and break any traditional code.

Quantum computing emerges from two successful scientific fields: quantum physics and computer science. This book offers elements from both sciences, but it is more computer-science oriented and is full of indispensable mathematics background information. This is a comprehensive introductory text on the main ideas and techniques of quantum computation and quantum information; it is a rich resource for those involved in teaching and research, as a textbook or as a reference.

This book is a great starting point for studying quantum computing for those who have a traditional background in math and computer science. Written on a scientific level, it is an up-to-date information source for scientists and graduate students working in the field, as well as for interested readers with scientific backgrounds. Although probably best used by those with a solid background in mathematics, this book can be useful for technical readers as well because the author successfully separates meaningful concepts from the more advanced proofs.

This is a good and fairly comprehensive book on an exciting subject. It is well written, clear, and very concise.—Hector Zenil Chavez


Security Warrior

Cyrus Peikari and Anton Chuvakin

O’Reilly, 2004, $44.95, ISBN: 0-596-00545-8

Compared with the other books in this area, Security Warrior has the advantage of demonstrating how things work, instead of simply putting readers in the position of being fragile victims of evil people, the hackers.

The book helps readers protect their systems by showing them ways that hackers can invade their systems and then explaining how they can build more secure software. Once you know how your enemies attack, you can proceed with ways to combat them. The authors have done a great job; the book covers almost everything you need to know to assure computer security.

The book contains 22 chapters, arranged in four parts. Part 1 is an excellent introduction to the world of software cracking. Part 2 discusses network stalking, including TCP/IP analysis, social engineering (including the most important chapter in the book, on advanced social engineering), reconnaissance, and operating system fingerprinting. Part 3 is about platform attacks, and Part 4 (seven chapters) talks about advanced defense.

Security Warrior includes a lot of information that has been left out of other books on security. There are references at the end of each chapter and a supporting Web site ( with updated information and errata to allow readers to find help via other sources. The text includes many tips and hints to help readers keep their networks more secure. These tips and hints make the book very practical, so it can be used as an everyday reference.

The boring parts of the book are the code pages, and there are a lot of them. The authors could have just included the code of important steps, as an enhancement to some parts of the text, and made the rest available on the Web site for interested readers.

I recommend this book for application developers; security, systems, and network administrators; and graduate or postgraduate students in appropriate courses, with the caveat that they must have knowledge of assembly language. If not, they will be lost from the beginning of the book.—Andre Mariën

Reprinted from Computing Reviews, © 2004 ACM,


Originally published in Queue vol. 2, no. 6
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