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Algorithm of the Blues
DJ Renegade
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020
Description to come.

front cover of How to Make an Algorithm in the Microwave
How to Make an Algorithm in the Microwave
Maya Salameh
University of Arkansas Press, 2022
Winner, 2022 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize

“We need a new poetry lexicon—a new way of moleculing the poem on the page, even—and Maya Salameh brings it. We need all the strange Arabic-diasporic ways we can find for being in this terrible and joyful and often frighteningly banalizing world, and Salameh’s poems are a generous find. Her writing is an unexpected cousin in the colonized and capitalism-razed city, bewildering and divining things you’ve never heard but want to learn. . . . Prepare to be stretched and delighted.”
—Mohja Kahf, from the Foreword

The divine and the digital achieve a distinct corporality in Maya Salameh’s HOW TO MAKE AN ALGORITHM IN THE MICROWAVE, winner of the 2022 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. Layering prayer with code, Salameh brings supposedly unassailable technological constructs like algorithm, recursion, and loop into conversation with the technologies of womanhood, whether liner, lipstick, or blood. Exploring the relationships we have with our devices, she speaks back to the algorithm (“a computer’s admission to blood”), which acts simultaneously as warden, confidant, and data thief.

Here Salameh boldly examines how an Arab woman survives the digitization of her body—experimenting with form to create an intimate collage of personal and neocolonial histories, fearlessly insinuating herself into the scripts that would otherwise erase her, and giving voice to the full mess of ritual.


front cover of Language and the Rise of the Algorithm
Language and the Rise of the Algorithm
Jeffrey M. Binder
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A wide-ranging history of the algorithm.

Bringing together the histories of mathematics, computer science, and linguistic thought, Language and the Rise of the Algorithm reveals how recent developments in artificial intelligence are reopening an issue that troubled mathematicians well before the computer age: How do you draw the line between computational rules and the complexities of making systems comprehensible to people? By attending to this question, we come to see that the modern idea of the algorithm is implicated in a long history of attempts to maintain a disciplinary boundary separating technical knowledge from the languages people speak day to day.
Here Jeffrey M. Binder offers a compelling tour of four visions of universal computation that addressed this issue in very different ways: G. W. Leibniz’s calculus ratiocinator; a universal algebra scheme Nicolas de Condorcet designed during the French Revolution; George Boole’s nineteenth-century logic system; and the early programming language ALGOL, short for algorithmic language. These episodes show that symbolic computation has repeatedly become entangled in debates about the nature of communication. Machine learning, in its increasing dependence on words, erodes the line between technical and everyday language, revealing the urgent stakes underlying this boundary.
The idea of the algorithm is a levee holding back the social complexity of language, and it is about to break. This book is about the flood that inspired its construction.

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