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The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-3…

The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-3 Boxed Set

by Donald E. Knuth

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457536,547 (4.58)3
Offering a description of classical computer science, this multi-volume work is a useful resource in programming theory and practice for students, researchers, and practitioners alike. For programmers, it offers cookbook solutions to their day-to-day problems.
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    Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen (billmcn)
    billmcn: See this book for a shorter and more accessible but still mathematically rigorous overview of fundamental algorithms.

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"I thought that I was a perfectionist until I met Knuth." The previous sentence is from the renowned mathematician Fan Rong K Chung Graham and I think it also reflects the spirit of the masterpiece of Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming (TAOCP). Reading the book was pure intellectual indulgence and a striking experience for me. I'm not a computer scientist in the academic sense but rather a professional programmer with engineering and mathematics background so I don't think I can criticize the book at the level it deserves, I simply do not own that much technical breadth and depth. But I can easily say that this is one of the books which I can call a masterpiece without hesitation and unlike many other technical books I read, it broadened my horizons in fundamental aspects of computing science, such as randomness and relationships between superficially unrelated mathematical structures.

Some may think that this masterpiece is rather theoretical and not very applicable in daily programming tasks but did you also know that this book is mentioned in Mitnick's 'The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers' where a group of hackers try to analyze some slot machines and one of them visits the library to learn more about the random number generation algorithms and picks up TAOCP?

I believe every programmer will find at least a few pages of pure hacker's delight in TAOCP and thus this book belongs to the shelf of every programmer. ( )
  EmreSevinc | Apr 12, 2011 |
Just seeing this title again brought back many memories of this being the "bible" of computer science back in my grad school days -- a very, very, very long time ago. Knuth's volumes were absolutely the "go to" books for many of our courses. Perhaps they's seem dated now, but still they'd provide a very solid foundation for anyone serious about programming / computing / software development / etc. ( )
  coclimber | Oct 1, 2010 |
I'd be smarter after reading the material in these volumes, but I'd also be much older... From one of the gurus...Very, very in-depth. Done from a textbook POV, with explanations and many exercises. Examples and presentation can be awkward. Sedgewick's Algorithms in Java may be a better one to tackle. ( )
  Murdocke23 | Jan 31, 2010 |
An amazing work. Requires more concentration than I routinely muster, though, so I'm only making progress in fits and starts. ( )
  aneel | May 9, 2007 |
There's no doubt that this is a landmark publication in the field of computer science, but it's tough going. The material is only really suitable for an advanced undergrad or graduate student. A command of basic calculus, combinatorics, and probability is a prerequisite to many of the chapters. Also, you should already know a good deal about how computers work and how to program. This is not an introduction to any of those subjects.

Knuth's style is a little strange (geeky?) at times, but the presentation is well organized and well motivated. Also, his credentials are undisputable.

Unfortunately, I think the applicable material in these books is starting to show its age. The discussions don't always apply to a world of huge system memories, fast-and-cheap CPUs, etc.

With that said, reading these books and mastering the content would be a worthwhile accomplishment for any student of computer science. There are many footnotes to excellent papers. Even at over a thousand pages, Knuth does a good job showing you that these volumes are still just a starting point. ( )
4 vote peterallenwebb | Aug 7, 2006 |
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