Art of Computer Programming, Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms (3rd Edition)

Author: Donald E. Knuth
List Price: $59.99
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ISBN: 0201896834
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Pub Co (07 July, 1997)
Edition: Hardcover
Sales Rank: 10,683
Average Customer Rating: 4.15 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 1 out of 5
People buy Knuth's books for snob appeal, which is to say that they like to put the 3-book set on their shelves as an advertisement for their own intellegence. What they don't realize is that truly talented individuals will see beyond this kind of cheap PR stunt. "Look, I read Knuth... boy, I must be a genius!"

Donald Knuth obviously has offered extra credit to students who provide him with glowing reviews on amazon. "Oh geeze, this is the best book ever. Bow down and kiss his feet." For all we know, he may even offer a cash reward.

This is just one of those cases where the myth of Knuth has overshadowed reality. Is Knuth well known? Yes. Has Knuth been around forever. Yes. Has knuth published countless articles? Yes. Are his books used in day-to-day coursework on top-ten engineering schools. NO, THEY ARE NOT.

For data structures, most *working* professors would refer you to Cormen, Leiserson, and Rivest (or maybe Robert Sedgewick). For scientific computing, most *active researchers* would suggest a book like Michael Heath's. For random numbers, you'd be better off with Kelton and Law's book on simulation. For computer architecture, everyone uses Patterson and Hennessey. See a pattern here?

The truth is that fields mature, and textbooks get better and better. Knuth has decided that it's too much work to stay current; he'd rather stick to 6-bit MIX assembler code and his precious universal truths.

Well, Professor Knuth, I have news for you: there are more recent books out there that do a much better job at stating "universal truths" with the added benefit of being easily readable.

I don't buy the excuse that it's too much work to re-write code examples in different languages. Isn't this what graduate students were made for Prof. Knuth? Hell, you don't even have to pay them that much. Just try not to speak down to them, oh great one.

I also don't buy the excuse that he uses MIX so that the reader can look at the finer details of performance and memory consumption. Isn't this the same man who said that "premature optimization is the root of all evil?" In other words, don't optimize; use a better algorithm. You don't need to look at assembly code to analyze algorithms, O(n) analysis should least, it's more of a "universal truth" approach.

By trying to write a complete survey of computer science, Knuth trys to be everything to everyone. In doing so, he does nothing as well as he could have (and certainly not as well as the textbooks currently being used). What he has ended up with is an expensive white elephant, that will look pretty while it collects dust.

Stop making excuses Professor Knuth. Get off your d@mn organ and get back to work.

Rating: 5 out of 5
required reading for anyone serious about coding
A generation grew up on Knuth, yet many new coders simply do not know who he is.

The Art of Computer Programming is required reading for anyone serious about computer programming, it is as simply as that.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Back to basics
Its as good as it can be. In depth analysis(not that much breadth though) of basic algorithms. I would also recommend the 3rd volume of the series on sorting and searching.Its good for those who are willing to put lot of time and effort in studying it, one of the good things about the books are the problems at the end of each chapter. If you solve them ...hats off, you are a star programmer!!
Some of the new data structures and algorithms are missing from the book, but I still think it deserves the 5 star for whats in there. I would also recommend The Algorithm Design Manual
by Steven S. Skiena, Steve Skiena, that lists all the algorithm (that kind of covers the breadth) and their usage, specially the use cases.

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· Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition
· Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation (2nd Edition)

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