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Computational Discrete Mathematics: Combinatorics and Graph Theory with Mathematica ® Paperback – October 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0521121460 ISBN-10: 0521121469 Edition: 1 Reissue

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 Reissue edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521121469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521121460
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This book is the definitive reference guide to Combinatorica -- an extension of the popular computer software, Mathematica -- with examples of the 450 combinatorics functions. The authors developed the newest version of this software that has dramatic improvements in graphical processing performance, representation, visualization, and many brand new functions...This book is highly recommended. It is a well organized and readable textbook for beginners and intermediate students." Leonardo

Book Description

Experimenting with Combinatorica, a widely used software package for teaching and research in discrete mathematics, provides an exciting new way to learn combinatorics and graph theory. With examples of all 450 functions in action plus tutorial text on the mathematics, this book is the definitive guide to Combinatorica. Three interesting classes of exercises are provided -- theorem/proof, programming exercises, and experimental explorations, providing great flexibility in teaching and learning the material.The Combinatorica user community ranges from students to engineers to researchers in mathematics, computer science, physics, economics, and the humanities. Combinatorica, which has received the EDUCOM Higher Education Software Award, is included with every copy of the popular computer algebra system Mathematica.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Knape on June 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a giant frustrating experience. A high percentage of the examples do not work in current versions of Mathematica (7 and 8). Particularly in the very, very beginning of the book when the reader is just trying to get anything to work, there is pitiful effort to update the user experience by both Wolfram and The only problem, THIS is all that there is. Your only guide to Combinatorica on Mathematica. Amazon needs to add a ZERO STAR choice. Perhaps even negative stars. So here it is 'one star' for lack of effort. No bona fide updates on the websites.

Shame on Wolfram. Shame on Pemmaraju and Skiena.

The problems that I see are as follows.

1) The dictionary problem. To understand Table, See Sum and Products. To understand Sum and Products, See Iterator Notation. To understand Iterator Notation, See Repetitive Operators 'Do Loops'.

2) Mathematica makes heavy use of parametric overloading. Sometimes it works with one parameter. Sometimes 2 parameters. Sometimes 3 parameters. Sometimes 4. So the examples that you see make use of many different syntax structures but this is only cryptically explained.

3) You would buy 'Computational Discrete Mathematics' to do combinatorics. Duh. But before you can understand the syntax in the book, you need to know these sections in Mathematica: "Some General Notations and Conventions", "Sums and Products", "Making Tables of Values", "Repetitive Operators 'Do Loops', "Symbolic Calculations", "Iterator Notation" and "Mathematics and Algorithms". Otherwise you just go in circles. Cut and paste code. Break the code. Have no clue. Cut and paste more code.

4) A lot of the code as mentioned was written for versions long ago.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dave Angel VINE VOICE on November 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think the best parts of this book was the illustration overleafs for each chapter. There are some pretty cool images created using Combinatorica and Mathematica. I got this book to help me with my Discrete math course and with that in mind it wasn't as helpful as I thought it would be. I think the reason is that it's really a book about Combinatorica and how to use it with Mathematica and how the latest version is faster and how the functions were written. So in order to use it effectively you have to already be quite familiar with discrete math and graph theory to use this. There are plenty of examples to try and play with though if you can get them to run. I used Mathematica 7 and I would get a lot of obsolete command warnings or errors when trying to run the examples from the book. The book website says they have an updated version of Combinatorica but I didn't try that. Also, there are some exercises but no answers provided for any of them. There is also a complete listing of all the Combinatorica in the book but no clear indication if it's now included with the latest version of Mathematica which would be helpful. I don't see how this book could be used as a primary text for a discrete math course unless you had an excellent instructor to add all the material the book is missing and to walk you though putting the example in the book to best use. It makes more sense as a laboratory type book. This book will appeal most to those that use Mathematica with discrete math and find the documentation lacking or want to find out how the Combinatorica functions were programmed. Will also appeal to the more visual people like myself.Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Marc Mest on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When this book was originally published I am sure it was useful, but with Mathematica 7 or 8 this book is almost worthless.
There are a few neat examples, but probably not worth buying this book. There are better books on the subject, though not targeted for Mathematica.

I would first look at the documentation for Mathematica at the wolfram website, the documenation of Combinatorics is probably just as good as this book.
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