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Algorithms Unlocked Paperback – March 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (March 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262518805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262518802
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Algorithms are at the center of computer science. This is a unique book in its attempt to open the field of algorithms to a wider audience. It provides an easy-to-read introduction to an abstract topic, without sacrificing depth. This is an important contribution and there is nobody more qualified than Thomas Cormen to bridge the knowledge gap between algorithms experts and the general public.

(Frank Dehne, Chancellor's Professor of Computer Science, Carleton University)

"Thomas Cormen has written an engaging and readable survey of basic algorithms. The enterprising reader with some exposure to elementary computer programming will discover insights into the key algorithmic techniques that underlie efficient computation." -- Phil Klein, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Brown University



Thomas Cormen helps readers to achieve a broad understanding of the key algorithms underlying much of computer science. For computer science students and practitioners, it is a great review of key algorithms that every computer scientist must understand. For non-practitioners, it truly unlocks the world of algorithms at the heart of the tools we use every day.

(G. Ayorkor Korsah, Computer Science Department, Ashesi University College)

About the Author

Thomas H. Cormen is Professor of Computer Science and former Director of the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth College. He is the coauthor (with Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, and Clifford Stein) of the leading textbook on computer algorithms, Introduction to Algorithms (third edition, MIT Press, 2009).

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Michael Vanier on April 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book. It's halfway between the typical science-book-for-non-scientists and a textbook. Unlike most science books for non-scientists, the author doesn't dumb down the material for the reader; he assumes you're intelligent and are willing to work a bit to understand what he says (including following mathematical arguments with actual equations). In fact, I only bought the book because the author was Cormen; I was familiar with his algorithms textbook (Introduction to Algorithms, better known as CLRS after the initials of the authors), which is absolutely authoritative, so I knew the material would be correct. (Having Julie Sussman, P.P.A., as the proofreader was also a big plus.) Unlike CLRS, this is not a textbook, but rather kind of a "pre-textbook". Its purpose is to whet your appetite, to teach you enough about the material so that you can decide if you want to study it more formally or not. If so, you can go straight to CLRS. If not, at least you'll have learned something. The people who will get the most out of this book are self-taught programmers who have never taken a course in algorithms but who nevertheless need to know this material. (And believe me, if you're a programmer, you _do_ need to know this material, whether you realize it or not.) Non-programmers may find that the book is too technical (especially the last few chapters, which get fairly heavily into topics like number theory and reductions of NP-complete problems). Despite this, I can think of no other book that provides such a clear introduction to the field of algorithms with so few prerequisites. Cormen's explanations are lucid and interesting throughout, and the topics are motivated by real-world applications which often don't find their way into textbook descriptions.Read more ›
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful By James A. Brannan on March 11, 2013
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Upon un-boxing, I looked at the back cover photo and thought, "uh-oh, another Ivy League professor who thinks everything is intuitively obvious, and disrespects you if it's not." One of the reasons more Americans don't go into computer science IMHO is that the basics are NOT intuitive, and turning your class into a boot camp - with programming assignments made purposely too time consuming - does nothing but hinder....oh, wait, this is a book review, I digress.

Anyways, this book is NOT that, it's a good book. For example, chapter 2 goes from assuming no knowledge of computer programming to asymptotic notation, and it's actually understandable! I've taken an algorithms class, and although able to muddle through it, I only understood about 1/4 the theoretical part. This book helps fill that void and I have renewed confidence that I will be able to understand the more theoretical aspect to algorithms the next time I encounter them (I'm back in school studying CS at night). I've read this book once, from cover to cover - retaining about 1/2 of it. Now it's a second time with highlighter and notes so that I can retain the book in its entirety.

It's not really a book for the "we're all going to be cyborgs, algorithms rule the world" pop-computing crowd, and I suspect it would take a gifted reader to understand this book if he or she truly had no clue about programming. A computer program algorithm is a different way of looking at the world than most folks are used to. But in the first chapter - presumably the one somebody would thumb through at the book store - the author actually points the reader to a less technical book if this one seems too technical.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Cupree on July 31, 2013
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As an undergrad Computer Science student I wanted a decent introductions to algorithms. This book was what I needed.

However, I thought that a couple of small proofs were a little unclear. Regardless, I managed to figure out why they were done.

Keep in mind that I"m not a sharp reader so certain things will be confusing for me especially in computer science.

The vast majority of it is easy to follow especially if you're a computer science student. I have yet to take a college algorithms course and when I do it will make my understanding of the topic better.

Buy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Summer Kitahara on October 6, 2013
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I am a high school student and intend to pursue computer science in college. I knew that familiarizing myself with computer algorithms was the next step in my computer science career and heard that this book is a great introduction to them. At times, the material was a bit confusing and complex for me, but the analogies and diagrams always kept me on track. I agree with James in that some online exercises would be very helpful in ensuring that I grasped the concepts at the end of each chapter. Overall, I heartily recommend this book for those who are curious about the various applications of computer algorithms.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joey on November 4, 2013
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To be fair I'm only about half way through this title as of now, but I'm impressed. Why you may ask? As the author mentions quite often, he is one of the authors of An Introduction to Algorithms (CLRS), which is the de facto standard in university level algorithm courses. It's also one of the longest, driest, most boring texts I've ever had the displeasure of being assigned to read. It's very thorough and filled with proofs and other gory details of algorithm analysis. Not that I don't appreciate its depth, but it's tough to keep up with at times (especially for students balancing three other courses and a job). But reading this title, I'm pleased with the light hearted tone and the almost humorous use of real work examples that strong algorithms can solve like cooking kungpo chicken in the shortest possible time and putting all hockey goalie equipment on the correct order without having to remove any pieces. The funny thing is that many of these algorithms are the classics that CLRS teaches as well, just trimmed of all the snobby proofs and focused on getting the actual message across. Proofs are important as well as understanding fundamentals of how algorithms perform. But I feel that CLRS is a bit to lo cluttered with these and it tends to skew the educational potential of the content. In fact, given the authors tone, I would almost think he agrees with me.
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More About the Author

Thomas H. Cormen is Professor and Chair of the Dartmouth College Department of Computer Science and former director of the Dartmouth College Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. He received the B.S.E. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University in 1978 and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1986 and 1993, respectively. He is coauthor of the leading textbook on computer algorithms, Introduction to Algorithms, which he wrote with Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, and Clifford Stein. The book, now in its third edition, has been translated into several languages. He is also the author of Algorithms Unlocked, a gentle introduction to understanding computer algorithms and how they relate to real-world problems.

Outside computer science, Cormen likes skating (inline and nordic), paddling, and cooking and eating barbecue.

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