William Deringer

William Deringer is an Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research examines the history of those techniques and technologies of calculation that organize modern economic, financial, and political life. His work ranges widely across time, from early compound-interest tables and changing social relations in the English countryside in the early 1600s, to the place of computer spreadsheets in the culture of Wall Street in the “go-go” 1980s. Deringer’s first book, Calculated Values: Finance, Politics, and the Quantitative Age (Harvard University Press), is a history of how numerical calculations became an authoritative mode of public reasoning. For his second book, Deringer plans to look at the very long history of a single computational problem: present value, the problem of determining what future property ought to be worth today.