Most people are baffled by how computers work and assume that they will never understand them. What they don't realize--and what Daniel Hillis's short book brilliantly demonstrates--is that computers' seemingly complex operations can be broken down into a few simple parts that perform the same simple procedures over and over. Written clearly and succinctly by one of the world's leading computer scientists, The Pattern on the Stone is an indispensable guide to understanding the workings of that most ubiquitous and important of machines. Book jacket.