History of Logic, Information, and Computation

Modern mathematical logic began with work by Cantor, Frege, and other mathematicians during the last three decades of the nineteenth century who were concerned with providing a sound basis for the development of mathematical analysis. In the wake of "the crisis in the foundations of mathematics" precipitated by the discovery of various logical paradoxes at the turn of the twentieth century, mathematicians and philosophers, such as Hilbert and Russell, intensively pursued investigations into the logical foundations of mathematics. Connections between logic and the foundations of mathematics remained an important source for scientific developments in logic through the epochal results of Gödel in 1930 and 1931 which indicated both the scope and limits of the mechanization of mathematical reasoning. The great burst of scientific activity occasioned by Gödel's results led directly to Turing's mathematical characterization of mechanical computation in terms of simple devices, now known as Turing machines. The work of Gödel, Turing, and other logicians during the 1930's laid the scientific foundations for the revolution in computer and information technology that began in the last half of the twentieth century and continues today.