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Combinatorial Optimization: Algorithms and Complexity (Dover Books on Computer Science) Paperback – Unabridged, January 29, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0486402581 ISBN-10: 0486402584 Edition: Unabridged

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Computer Science
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (January 29, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486402584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486402581
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

On another, it serves as a good reference for many graph-theoretic algorithms.
Todd Ebert
Chapters 18 (branch-and-bound and dynamic programming) and 19 (local search) are very practical stuff, which I read many times.
J. Ye
Despite the book's age, it mostly holds up very well in terms of topics and presentation.
A. Cottrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Todd Ebert on November 14, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had this book on my shelf for two years before taking a serious look at it, and only wish I had read it much earlier in life. Christos Papadimitriou has written quite a gem! On one hand this book serves as a good introduction to combinatorial optimization algorithms, in that it provides a flawless introduction to the simplex algorithm, linear and integer programming, and search techniques such as Branch-and-Bound and dynamic programming. On another, it serves as a good reference for many graph-theoretic algorithms. But most importantly Papadimitriou and Steiglitz seem to be on a quest to understand why some problems, such as Minimum Path or Matching, have efficient solutions, while others, such as Traveling Salesman, do not. And in doing so they end up providing the reader with a big picture behind algorithms and complexity, and the connection between optimization problems and complexity.
After reading this and Papadimitriou's "Introduction to Computational Complexity" (which I also highly recommend), I now consider him one of the best at conveying complex ideas in a way that rarely confuses the reader. I also had the priviledge of attending one of his talks on complexity, and he seems just as effusive and transparent as a lecturer as he does a writer. Ah, for once I bought a Dover book that did not disappoint.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By SeanFurl on May 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is just a note to mention that athough Amazon has dated this book as published in 1998, it is actually around 15 years old. By the way, it's a good book, but I didn't find it an easy read, especially the first half. One needs to already have a foundation in linear programming and optimization to digest it. A previous reviewer who said that every programmer should read it was being unduly exuberant, presumably because it happened to hit his particular spot. Most programmers don't need combinatorial optimization and for those who do there are some good alternative books.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By KARTIK KRISHNAN S. on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Christos Papadimitriou, my hero is a hope for all of us who wish to master the fascinating field of Combinatorial Optimisation. Especially recommended are the chapters on matching, NP Completeness and Approximation Algorithms.
As another reader has remarked, this book is quite old though (published first in 1982). For a more to date book on Combinatorial Optimisation, one might want to look at Cook, Cunningham, Pulleyblank and Schrijver's book on Combinatorial Optimisation (published in 1998).
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G. Avvinti on June 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One could buy this book for different reasons: interests in combinatorial optimization, of course; interests in what Papadimitriou has to say, since his thoughts on this subject are definitely invaluable; perhaps the price is a good reason alone.
Whatever the reason, however, I think that would be a rare event to remain duped.
I was preparing my exam in Computability and Complexity when I first used it. I've been wonderfully surprised by the amount of definitions, algorithms, concepts I've found in this book. I think one could use this book for a simple course on Algorithms, on Computability and/or Complexity, on the whole Combinatorial Optimization, and the book would be always and costantly useful.
The chapters on algorithms and complexity, or those on NP completeness have proved to be gems. The chapters on Approximation and Local Search are great, and they feature a bunch of detailed and excellent quality stuff (e.g. there is a detailed treatment of Christofides' algorithm to approximate the TSP, that is quite an idiosyncratic topic).
All in all, a very great book, with a value exponentially greater than the very insignificant price.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Ye on April 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
It is my favorite book on combinatorial optimization. The last 5 chapters 15-19 are the most interesting and useful to me because my job is write heuristics for NP hard problems in transportation. Chatpers 15 and 16 on NP complete problems are well explained and covered in depth. Chapter 17 on approximation algorithms is easy to understand and fun to read. Chapters 18 (branch-and-bound and dynamic programming) and 19 (local search) are very practical stuff, which I read many times.

The rest of the book is a good reference for topics like linear programming, max-flow, matching, etc. There are mostly independent of the last 5 chapters and can be skipped on a first read. My experience is that I don't need detailed knowledge of simplex algorithms because I use CPlex.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JAMIE R LAWSON on November 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a computer science graduate student I carried Papadimitriou and Steiglitz with me almost every day. Its target subject is combinatorial optimization, but going through this book, you might think that graph theory and computational complexity are just subfields of combinatorial optimization. It builds a beautiful theory that brings these and other fields together, and with a fraction of the page count of, say, Cormen, Rivest Leiserson. Now that it's a Dover book, it's a fraction of the price I paid, and I was gladly willing to pay that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hernadvolgyi Istvan on March 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
A couple of years ago I used this book to prepare for my PhD comprehensive exam and recently I picked it up again. While a lot has happened in OR since the book was written, the basics are covered in fine detail and in beautiful style. It could also be used as a graduate textbook or a course supplement. A very useful book for anyone interested in combinatorial optimization. What missing is the wealth of Artificial Intelligence techniques successfully used to tackle NP-hard optimization problems. But this is not a negative comment, just for your information. That belongs to another book. Linear Programming, Duality, Spanning Trees, Flows, Matching and introduction into NP-completeness are finely covered. A truly great job for an amazingly low price (see the text book prices with similar titles).
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More About the Author

Christos Papadimitriou was born and raised in Athens, Greece, and studied in Athens and at Princeton. He has taught Computer Science at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and, since 1996, at Berkeley, where he is the C. Lester Hogan Professor of Computer Science. In his research he uses mathematics to understand the power and limitations of computers. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. He has written several of the standard textbooks in algorithms and computation, and two novels: "Turing" and "Logicomix" (with Apostolos Doxiadis, art by Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna). He is working on his third novel, "Independence."


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Combinatorial Optimization: Algorithms and Complexity (Dover Books on Computer Science)
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