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Algorithmic Puzzles Paperback – October 14, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Algorithmic Puzzles by Anany Levitin and Maria Levitin is an interesting and novel style of puzzle book. The emphasis lies in training the reader to think algorithmically and develop new puzzle-solving skills: the majority of puzzles are problems where we are asked to find the shortest distance or the fewest moves to get from A to B, or construct a proof that a puzzle has no solution. the book provides plenty of puzzles to keep even the most avid problem-solvers busy for a long time, all with varying levels of difficulty and different styles/contexts. The solutions provided are comprehensive and explain themselves in a friendly, constructive manner, complete with illustrations. In addition to questions and answers, a section of brief hints is also provided to assist the reader in their puzzle-solving endeavours." -- Graham Wheeler, Significance


About the Author


Anany Levitin is a professor of Computing Sciences at Villanova University. He is the author of a popular textbook on design and analysis of algorithms, which has been translated into Chinese, Greek, Korean, and Russian. He has also published papers on mathematical optimization theory, software engineering, data management, algorithm design, and computer science education.
Maria Levitin is an independent consultant. After some years working for leading software companies and developing business applications for large corporations, she now specializes in web-based applications and wireless computing.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199740445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199740444
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Actually, the references section of the book is a treasure mine in itself.
Amazon Reviewer
You would have thought they could puzzle out that the three parts of the book should be linked so the reader can move back and forth.
T Mark W Bottomley
The puzzles are categorized according to easy, medium and hard difficulty.
stark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By T Mark W Bottomley on April 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book contains an excellent collection of algorithmic puzzles. There are lots (150) of puzzles in three difficulty categories. The book itself has 3 parts - the puzzle, the hint(s), and the solution explanation with references and a short history. The conversion to Kindle format was done poorly. You would have thought they could puzzle out that the three parts of the book should be linked so the reader can move back and forth. This is especially problematic as neither of the three sections can stand alone. The Pounstone books, Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need ... to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy and How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers are referenced in the book and they got the connectivity correct. I would recommend the paper version of the book with 3 book marks. Fixing this frustration would raise my rating to 5 stars.

The above Poundstone books do have a small overlap with this book, however they are sufficiently different that purchasing all three books is not a bad idea.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Ehardt on August 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The content of the book itself is OK; there a lot of rehashing of things that have already been rehashed to death.

However, the Kindle edition is terrible. There is no useful navigation, and it's as if someone took a source document for the book and exported to a Kindle document.

There was a real opportunity here to make an extremely useful document; each puzzle can be linked to the hints and solution, and those in turn could be linked back to each other.

I really hope that the publisher will revisit the Kindle edition and make it useful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CollinS on February 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book on sight. It's possibly my favorite book of any and all books I own. The puzzles are not only ubiquitous and exciting... they're educational and provide many "Aha!" moments. I've been looking for a book like this for years, and I recommend it to those looking for fun and challenging puzzles of varying difficulty levels. Being a computer science major, many of the puzzles are also fun to implement and solve using programming, emphasizing the "algorithmic" component in the title.

Buy this book!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Randolph L. Smith on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
More than I ever wanted to know about puzzle analysis. Interesting to see all the logic behind the design. Highly recommended for the puzzle-minded.
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Format: Kindle Edition
My motivation for reading this book: preparing for coding interview puzzles.
This is the perspective from which I evaluate the book.

Conclusion: if you are in the coding interview game do yourself a favor and read at least the first 30 pages. Best return on investment, unless you already have specific training on solving puzzles.

I have at least 5 of the most popular titles specifically dedicated to coding interviews but I find that just the first 30 pages of this book are more valuable than all the other books combined. (This statement is limited to the general problem solving topics and not to technical trivia or dedicated computer science topics like tricky manipulations of a linked list.)

The first pages review very clearly the major strategies for solving "puzzles," which is just another word for problems. If you have a computing or mathematics background then likely nothing on those pages will be new. Regardless, in my case the systematic review of these strategies makes the difference between "I know that I should be able to solve this in minutes but still I run around in loops and getting frustrated" to actually being able to convert the problem space to a graphical representation that helps getting the solution in minutes even with the most simplistic approach of exhaustive search. Of course those 30 pages are about describing the progression of the more sophisticated strategies that, even though I have been aware of them all, are extremely helpful to see in a system.

Contrast to other books I've seen: other books usually start with the problem, then either provide the solution up front, or demonstrate one example of how you could start looking for the solution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris on January 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Took this book camping. Very clever puzzles from one of the best professors I ever had. This book is a great learning tool.
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