Good books in computer science?

Robert Kern robert.kern at
Sat Jun 27 17:41:36 EDT 2009

On 2009-06-27 07:58, Paul Rubin wrote:
> Albert van der Horst<albert at>  writes:
>>> Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson,
>>> Ronald L. Rivest, and Clifford Stein.
>> Thanks. I lost that title a while ago, must buy.
> Wait a few months, a third edition is in the works.
>> Also "Numerical Recipe's in FORTRAN/Pascal/C"
>> (Have they done Python yet?)
> They haven't done Python AFAIK.  I liked the C version but the
> licensing of the software is pretty evil and so I'm a bit turned off
> to the series these days.  I think the hardcore numerics crowd never
> liked the book anyway.

My opinion is that the text itself is a pretty good introduction to the workings 
of a broad variety of numerical algorithms. For any particular area, there are 
probably better books that go into more depth and are closer to the state of the 
art, but I don't think there are any books that cover the wide swath numerical 
algorithms that NR does. In that regard, I treat it like Wikipedia: a good place 
to start, not the best place to stop.

I think the code succeeds reasonably well for teaching the algorithms, but I 
don't think they are well-engineered for production use. There are usually 
better libraries with better licenses.

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
  that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
  an underlying truth."
   -- Umberto Eco

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