Top Computing Theory Book Choices
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 23 March 2020
Article Index
Top Computing Theory Book Choices
For Students

So far the books in this selection have covered the big ideas underlying computer science and programming. The next group of books are all about algorithms, so approach the theory of programming rather than the theory of computer science. 

Introduction to Algorithms

Author: Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Clifford Stein
Publisher: MIT Press
Pages: 1312
ISBN: 978-0262033848

Mike James described this book as a classic and a must read if you are interested in programming, giving it five stars, and saying that it is an academic text in the sense that it would, and does, make a good basis for a course on algorithms but it is still very readable.


Mike's conclusion is that in addition to forming a good foundation for a first course on algorithms and on data structures, it is also very suitable for individual study. It is a big to large a tome to be a comfortable read but if you have missed out on a formal introduction to algorithms and data structures this is a good place to start and the investment will be repaid as you use the book as a reference work.

Algorithms in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed  

Author: George Heineman, Gary Pollice, Stanley Selkow
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 390
ISBN: 978-1491948927

There are lots of algorithm books, but this one is a little different, according to Mike James who gave it the maximum five stars. A standard algorithm book simply presents common or classic algorithms to do a range of things in the language of choice, but this one isn’t at all academic and it’s a very good and easy read.


Mike's conclusion was that despite not covering much of the academic analysis needed for a computer science course, this book would make a really good basis for such a course or background reading, and is a “keeper” - make room for it on your bookshelf as it’s essential reading and great for making up for what you never learned in Computer Science lectures.

The Algorithm Design Manual

Author: Steven S. Skiena
Publisher: Springer
Pages: 736
ISBN: 978-1848000698

According to Mike James, this book is well presented with a good balance of theory and practice, managing not to be overly academic or too lightweight to be of use. In view of this he awarded it five stars. The first section - about 350 pages - of the book is about algorithm design - analysis, data structures, sorting and searching, graph traversal, weighted graphs, combinatorial search, heuristics, dynamic programming and finally intractable problems.


The second half is a catalog of algorithms. It doesn't actually give you details of the algorithms in question just a general discussion of the type of methods, what the problems are, variations on the problems, where the problem and solution prove useful and lots of places to look for more detailed information, including implementations.

Algorithms Unlocked  

Author: Thomas H. Cormen
Publisher: MIT Press
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-0262518802

This four star rated book is an easy read about algorithms, for a specific subset of readers. Mike James said that the bottom line is that this is not the book you should rush out to buy as a present for you nearest and dearest - unless they happen to be a math-capable programmer. The ideal reader is probably a first year, or prospective, computer science student or the programmer who wants to get an easy-to-read view of the subject. 

It clearly is possible to write a book that explains algorithms for the general reader - mainly by leaving out runtime analysis and simply supplying the broad ideas - but this isn't it. Even so, if you are up for the math and happy with pseudo code, then this is good starting point.




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Pages: 992
Print: 0137899882
ISBN: 978-0137899883
Kindle: B0C4VKVP27
Audience: DBAs and developers
Rating: 5.0
Reviewer: Ian Stirk

This book aims to update your DBA skills to cover SQL Server 2022, how does it fare?

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Author: Kevin Kline et al
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-1484282298
Print: 1484282299
Kindle: B0B924H21P
Audience: Managers & architects
Rating: 4
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 March 2020 )