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The Algorithm Design Manual [Hardcover]

by Steve S. Skiena
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 14, 1997 0387948600 978-0387948607 Corrected
This volume helps take some of the "mystery" out of identifying and dealing with key algorithms. Drawing heavily on the author's own real-world experiences, the book stresses design and analysis. Coverage is divided into two parts, the first being a general guide to techniques for the design and analysis of computer algorithms. The second is a reference section, which includes a catalog of the 75 most important algorithmic problems. By browsing this catalog, readers can quickly identify what the problem they have encountered is called, what is known about it, and how they should proceed if they need to solve it. This book is ideal for the working professional who uses algorithms on a daily basis and has need for a handy reference. This work can also readily be used in an upper-division course or as a student reference guide. THE ALGORITHM DESIGN MANUAL comes with a CD-ROM that contains: * a complete hypertext version of the full printed book. * the source code and URLs for all cited implementations. * over 30 hours of audio lectures on the design and analysis of algorithms are provided, all keyed to on-line lecture notes.

Editorial Reviews


"...the book is an algorithm implementation treasure trove, and putting all of these implementations in one place was no small feat. The list of implementations, an extensive bibliography, and the CD-ROM make the book an invaluable resource for everyone interested in the subject." --ACM Computing Reviews

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 486 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; Corrected edition (November 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387948600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387948607
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Covers an Important Middle Ground March 6, 2003
By Jason
This book fills a nice niche -- it is practical enough to be useful and accesible to professional programmers (rather than algorithms researchers or academics) but is build on solid theory as well.
Aside from this, the book has several features to recommend it:
(1) There are "war stories" scattered throughout the text. These are special sections that describe the author's experience working with algorithmic problems "in the field". These are particularly interesting because the present false starts and failures along the way to the final solution. This is a nice change from the standard model of simply presenting algorithms and proving them correct.
(2) Unlike others, such as the popular Cormen, Lieserson, Rivest and Stein text -- which is a bit advanced for beginning study -- this really is an introduction to algorithms. It is quite suitable for, say, undergradutes who have taken a couple of basic CS courses.
(3) Chapter 8 is a 250-page "Catalog of Algorithmic Problems". Here, you will find descriptions of hundreds of standard formulations for algorithmic problems along with the basic solution approaches, and -- this is what really sets it apart -- pointers to implementations of these algorithms. This is part of the overall emphasis of the book: that of understanding standard algorithms in order to avoid "reinventing the wheel".
Overall, I recommend this book for people with some programming experience that would like to take their work to the next level. Hardcore computer scientists (especially those with a more theoretical bent) may also benefit from this book, but should consider it a supplement to one of the more advanced texts, such as the above-mentioned CLRS.
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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will love it! March 20, 2001
Apart from beeing really useful, this book has two more interesting characteristics: 1. it is very readable 2. it is very amusing/interesting at times. The book is very good if you are a beginner in the subject of computer algorithms, but note that it is not a stand-alone book. You also need a good algorithms textbook to cover the subject of algorithms. Skiena reviews some aspects of the algorithmic theory he regards especially useful/important and presents his interesting perspective, but some times he uses algorithms or techniques he has not presented. What makes this book great is the "War stories", where the author describes real problems and the process that led to the algorithm that solved the problems. Something like Bentley's magnificent book "Programming pearls" (get this one too!). And, of course, the categorized catalog of algorithmic problems, which comprises the bigest part of the book, is almost a guarantee that once you come across a real problem you will shortly know where to look for a solution. Moreover, that solution may already be coded, waiting for you in the CD that comes with the book (which also includes a one-semester lectures of the author in shockwave-audio format).
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful resource! October 2, 2001
In my line of work I am, many times, in need of some algorithm or resource to do some job. Sure I learned many during my B.Sc. studies, and during my work, but some are hard to remember, and some I never knew - and sometimes you just need to know how to call the problem in order to locate resources about it from the internet.
Well - this book solves it all!
One part contains "war stories", which I found very useful, and amusing - After reading them I felt like I learned many lessons.
The second part, which is the reason I bought this book at the first place, is a very impressive catalog of algorithms and problems - you just need to know something about the problem you need to solve, and most probably, your problem will be described here with clear definitions, and some suggested algorithms for solutions and with resources from other books/articles and web resources.
I tell you - so many times this book was the first and only stop in my persue of finding the algorithm I needed.
I'd recommend this book to anyone studying and working with algorithms. This is a must in your bookshelf - even more - it's a must on your table!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the real programmer July 15, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are many reasons I like this book more than other Algorithms books I own (e.g. Sedgewick). One is that Skiena's book comes with an HTML version, so it's easy to keep it with you at all times (e.g. on your laptop, at work, and at home). Another is the "war stories". I found that I wanted to read the war stories first, rather than the technical content. Another is that the book points you at existing implementations, which really is what you'll eventually need to look at if you're going to use or write any code.

Overall, I found that when confronted to real world problems, the "Algorithm Design Manual" was a better resource than other Algorithm books. This is why I'm recommending it to software engineers out there. It seems to be written for people working with algorithms to solve problems, rather than as a support for an academic course.

On the negative side: I find the resource catalog to be exhaustive but somewhat shallow. As I'm getting older and slower, some things are not as obvious as they used to be. For example, I was quite unable to derive how to use Voronoi diagrams to perform nearest neighbour search, although it is supposed to be "a simple matter".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version misses Answers to test questions
This kindled version is obsolete (refers to online materials that simply don't exist anymore). Each chapter has test questions, which is great. Read more
Published on June 11, 2011 by oz
1.0 out of 5 stars 1998 edition for Kindle
Just download a sample and see for yourself. This "Kindle Edition" is a pure cheating. They "kindeled" an old 1998 edition for $49. Read more
Published on October 15, 2009 by Michael Vashkevich
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book is splitted in two parts.
The first part mostly contains general advices about algorithms, performances, and such. Read more
Published on April 14, 2008 by Yvan Norsa
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible Guide to Algorithm Design
For those computer science students and programmers who are put off by the style of "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen et al., this book is a good alternative. Read more
Published on February 20, 2006 by calvinnme
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely practical, very good as a starting point in algorithms study
I found this book extremely practical, especially for professionals that don't have everyday the occasion to be confronted with real algorithmic problems (I assume that most of the... Read more
Published on January 17, 2006 by Marius Herghelegiu
5.0 out of 5 stars A very practical reference in designing algorithm
Nice to have this book handy if you need to design efficient algorithms for your programs. This is more of a reference than to teach you what algorithms are out there, so you... Read more
Published on October 15, 2003 by Andy Cheung
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but sloppily written
This is a good attempt at an algorithm design manual, but from my perspective (as a professor of mathematics working in combinatorics and combinatorial optimization) the writing is... Read more
Published on October 25, 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book But Very Theoretical
I hate to give this book only 3 stars, since it is obviously so well done. But it is not a book for everyone. If you are at the advanced level, you will treasure this one. Read more
Published on May 30, 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for picking algorithms
This is a great book on the design of algorithms, emphasizing design over analysis. With perhaps 1/4 of mainframe machine cycles spent sorting, this is an important topic. Read more
Published on April 30, 2002 by Gary Sprandel
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
Awesome book! Apart from the good collection of algorithms, it also teaches you where/how you can apply these algorithms in "daily life" with a section on 'war stories'. Read more
Published on April 29, 2002
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