There’s exciting news in Computer Science-land this week, as the 4A volume (on Combinatorial algorithms) of The Art of Computer Programming by Donald Knuth is now complete and is available for preorder on Amazon.
To make things even more intriguing, and to really get all of us CS/programming/math enthusiasts salivating, the boxed set is also made available for preorder (it’s slated to ship out next month). Given that a good percentage of programmers are apt to really want this boxed set, chances are that it will sell out fairly quickly (as such I made sure to preordered mine today).
While very few people will actually read this great set from cover to cover (in total it’s more than 3000 pages long), this is one of those monumental tomes that deserves a spot on your shelves, provided they are strong enough! 🙂
Having such an epic body of work on hand is a joy many of us would relish. (I speak from firsthand experience here, as I used to have an older version of this algorithms Bible, but I had to part with it when I moved continents a few years back.)
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I have the first two volumes of this work, and would love to get the other two. But, I didn’t come from a mathematics background. I wind up getting lost in all of the equations. Can anybody suggest a good introduction math text that might help me dip my toes into this work?
Alex, if you had a decent mathematical background, I would probably recommend to start with Concrete Mathematics (by Knuth himself) and Introduction to Algorithms. They are both rigorous books, but gentler than TAoCP. If you need something more introductory though, you may want to start with a textbook on discrete mathematics and proceed from there.
This is the sort of book a well-rounded programmer should have, the way any doctor or especially surgeon should have “Gray’s Anatomy” but I fear too many of us – and I’m sure that includes myself too – lack the mathematical discipline or background to use it. But current market trends tend to discourage continuing education even though it is despirately needed. Fundamental theory – which is what Knuth deals with – will last forever, it is the basis for all software engineering and development, but technical skills and programming languages, will be seriously out of date in ten years or less and obsolete in 20. Is anyone – with rare exceptions – using the same languages and tools they did in 1991? Isn’t much of what we are using now based on tools and techniques that were created after 2001? Yet if you do a sort the method is probably quicksort from the 1970s, and standard mathematical formula such as sine, cosine, tan, log and so forth go back to the original discovery of the algorithms back in the 1960s or earlier, probably going back to the original hand calculations from hundreds of years ago.
It would be very cool if they published Volume 4A along with a bigger mostly empty box to replace the box of those that already have a Vol 1-3 box set.
New publishing idea!!!! Just Do It!
I bought the first two volumes recently, started reading it and can’t wait to get my hands on the excercises! 🙂
I will have to buy the volume 3 and 4 later on.
Where can i buy these? Also, can it be shipped?
Amazon and other large bookstores have it. Depending on where you live. Worst case scenario, there is eBay.