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Beginning Algorithms Paperback – November 7, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0764596742 ISBN-10: 0764596748 Edition: 1st

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Beginning Algorithms + Algorithms in a Nutshell (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) + Algorithms (4th Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (November 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764596748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764596742
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #925,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Beginning Algorithms

A good understanding of algorithms, and the knowledge of when to apply them, is crucial to producing software that not only works correctly, but also performs efficiently. This is the only book to impart all this essential information—from the basics of algorithms, data structures, and performance characteristics to the specific algorithms used in development and programming tasks.

Packed with detailed explanations and instructive examples, the book begins by offering you some fundamental data structures and then goes on to explain various sorting algorithms. You'll then learn efficient practices for storing and searching by way of hashing, trees, sets, and maps. The authors also share tips on optimization techniques and ways to avoid common performance pitfalls. In the end, you'll be prepared to build the algorithms and data structures most commonly encountered in day-to-day software development.

What you will learn from this book

  • The basics of algorithms, such as iteration and recursion
  • Elementary data structures such as lists, stacks, and queues
  • Basic and advanced sorting algorithms including insertion sort, quicksort, and shell sort
  • Advanced data structures such as binary trees, ternary trees, and heaps
  • Algorithms for string searching, string matching, hashing, and computational geometry
  • How to use test-driven development techniques to ensure your code works as intended
  • How to dramatically improve the performance of your code with hands-on techniques for profiling and optimization

Who this book is for

This book is for anyone who develops applications, or is just beginning to do so, and is looking to understand algorithms and data structures. An understanding of computer programming is beneficial.

Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.

About the Author

Simon Harris started writing animated sprites on a Commodore 64 in primary school. After a break of many years, he taught himself 80x86 and IBM System/370 assembler and started working professionally. Since then he has moved from assembler to C, C++, and, of course, Java. He believes a fundamental understanding and appreciation of algorithms is essential to developing good software; and since starting his own company, RedHill Consulting, he has managed to make a living discussing and demonstrating software development practices and techniques to anyone who will listen.

In his more than 15 years of development experience, James Ross has ranged from building packaged products to large enterprise systems to research into compilers and languages. In recent years, he has become a code quality fanatic and agile methods specialist, particularly with test-driven development. He works as a consultant for ThoughtWorks, the world’s leading agile software development company. He is currently leading the development of a large J2EE project in the insurance industry in Melbourne, Australia. He lives with his wife and family in Melbourne.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Neither the front or back cover says this, so I will. The source code examples in this book are all written in Java. I suspect the book is being a little coy about this because the authors want to maximise the potential audience. Fair enough. Granted, the text mentions Java immediately inside, but you have to actually open a physical copy, to see this.

If you are already conversant in Java, that's great, because the book offers an indepth guide to several crucial classes. But what if you program in C++ or C#? In the Standard Template Library for C++ and in the default libraries for C#, you should be able to easily find the equivalent classes to those used in the text. Of course, you will then have to rewrite the examples that use those classes. Straightforward. None of the examples are long. And since this book is fundamentally about computations, and not about making a user interface, the syntax for using the system classes is roughly the same, across these languages. Also, some examples might use the object oriented property of extending a base class. As you can do this in C++ and C#, there is no problem here either. A problem might have arisen if the authors had used C++ with multiple inheritance, because Java and C# forbid this. But since they didn't, it's not an issue. As an OO language, Java is actually pretty minimal.

Another way of looking at the topic of your language is that if you don't use Java, you can potentially use the book to better effect. Because you can't simply copy the Java code, then you have to actually get an accurate understanding of what it is doing, before manually recoding.

The text covers the most common structures and methods for using those structures, that you are likely to need.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's pretty easy these days to use a programming language and the high level of abstraction it can offer to avoid understanding certain programming fundamentals like lists, queues, and stacks. It's for sure that I've gotten away with it. But if you're just starting out in programming (or if you're trying to fill in some gaps), you might be interested in Beginning Algorithms by Simon Harris and James Ross. They do a nice job of making a complex subject approachable...

Contents: Getting Started; Iteration and Recursion; Lists; Queues; Stacks; Basic Sorting; Advanced Sorting; Priority Queues; Binary Searching and Insertion; Binary Search Trees; Hashing; Sets; Maps; Ternary Search Trees; B-Trees; String Searching; String Matching; Computational Geometry; Pragmatic Optimization; Further Reading; Resources; Bibliography; Answers to Exercises; Index

Harris and Ross take you through the basic programming algorithms using Java as the base language. Rather than just tell you "use this Java class to do a Hash", they explain the underlying concept and then have you build an implementation of that concept in code. After you've taken the time to write the methods and classes by hand, you'll end up with a pretty complete understanding of that algorithm in a way that just using provided classes can't offer. Another commendable point in this book is that they start off each algorithm coding exercise by building unit tests first. That way, you can be assured that the code you write does everything it's supposed to do, and further tweaks to improve the logic don't lead to the introduction of bugs. Very solid approach...

I will end up keeping this book around for a couple of purposes.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Johnson on May 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
While the basic data structure and algorithm content is fine, the "marriage" of test driven development/JUnit and DS&A is completely unnecessary and, to my mind, seriously damages this book. There's nothing wrong with test driven development and there's nothing wrong with JUnit. But to suggest that it's necessary to force the two together (ad nauseum!) for every single structure is just false. Really, after the first one or two test cases the JUnit stuff gets really tired and it should be obvious to the reader how to continue on with it. This is much like introductory OOD texts trying to munge software engineering principles throughout. A better title for this text would be "A Test Drive Approach to Beginning Algorithms with Java and JUnit". There are those who agree with the Beck Test Driven Development, there are those who disagree. But a linked list is a linked list. At this level, the important material consists of the basic data structures, the algorithms which manipulate them, recursion and some sense of when to choose which structure/algorithm. This material, in my opinion, should be concentrated on without the unit testing - leave unit testing to a text covering general programming best practices. A much better choice for an intro to DS&A in Java is Robert Lafore's "Data Structures and Algorithms in Java".
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jason Schorn on January 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of the book is 'Beginning Algorithms' and as such should cover the basics. It would be nice if a book on algorithms actually contained detail explanations regarding the particular structure that is going to be discussed or constructed. This book does not do that and hence does an injustice to the beginner or someone wishing to move from some text describing the how-to of programming in a given language to a detailed understanding of fundamental programming paradigms. Moreover, the title should read loosely defined algorithms JUnit tested beyond belief. It is pedagogically unsound to write a beginning book on algorithms whose emphasis is on testing the structures being built and not on accurately defining and motivating the assumed subject matter. For example, a link list or any of it's other incarnations is a structure that every soo-to-be programmer or computer scientist should know of and be able to effortlessly construct. The authors of this book give you a whopping one page description of a doubly linked list with a neat diagram and then go off on their rather annoying tangent of building the JUnit testing for the class or classes they are trying to build. Only after they give you the doce for testing-wasting several pages and minutes of your time-do they begin to construct the linked list. What's even worse than the needless discussion revolving testing (that should come after the object is defined and constructed) is the fact that they do absolutely no justice to the linked list or any other structure for that matter. It's just code with little if any text to motivate of define what hasa been built, why it has been built, where it may apply, how it might be applied or how it relates to, say, some of the fundamental types written as part of the Java core.Read more ›
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