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Re: [OT] A question for programmers - Inspiration



> I notice that many of you have mentioned Knuth.  Are all of you talking
> specifically about "The Art of Computer Programming" volumes?
Yes. It's the classic on algorithms.

However, recall Mark Twain's definition of a classic:
A classic is something that everyone wants to have read
and nobody wants to read.
                -- Mark Twain, "The Disappearance of Literature"

Specifically TAOCP has an extremely condensed style and a lot of stuff (e.g.
most of volume two) makes very interesting reading, but probably is not
considered compulsory by most people. Also, I disagree that his MIX is optimal
choice of a language to express algorithms in. (To quote my favorite c.s.
professor "pure would have been better".) In summary, TAOCP is a book for people
who like math and theory.

If you want a book about algorithms, and I strongly believe that anyone should
have read something, you're probably better off with [CLR] or [S]. IMHO the
first provides more insight, but the latter might be easier to read. (Usually, I
recommend Sedgewick's book to high-school students, also because it has a German
translation, and the other if I get asked at university. But then the language
barrier isn't a problem for you.)

If you prefer a book on programming more specifically, then you might try
something like the open book "How To Think Like A Computer Scientist" (found for
various languages at google), or if that is too basic, Bruce Eckel's online
books [E]. (Only browsed them, though.)

Depending on what you're looking for, I can happily recommend other books on my
shelf, but knowledge, I'd start talking about computer algebra or statiscal
learning theory next, and that might be somewhat off the point unless you have
specific interests. Though with the recent use of baysian spam classification,
anyone should have read... never mind.

Cheers

T.

CLR: Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest: Introduction to Algorithms, MIT Press
S: Sedgewick, Algorithms, Addison-Wesley, also as Algorithms in You-Name-It
E: http://www.mindview.net/Books

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