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Computational Geometry in C (Cambridge Tracts in Theoretical Computer Science) 2nd Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0521649766
ISBN-10: 0521649765
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Editorial Reviews


"This is an applied approach to fundamental concepts in computational geometry and should be read by every serious practitioner....From a pedagogical point of view, this book is an excellent choice for both undergraduate classes (perhaps with more emphasis on the implementations) and graduate classes (considering a number of the exercises) because of the extensive exercises that review, explore details, and encourage further reading." Computing Reviews

"Conveys the feeling that computational geometry is interesting, exciting, important, and very active." SIGACT News

"Anyone who wants to know what this field is all about should read this book!...a pleasure to read, as questions that arise naturally in the reader's mind are answered, in almost all cases, in the following paragraph. The style strikes an ideal balance between rigor and informality. Mr. O'Rourke must be a wonderful teacher and I envy his students." Siam Review

"...the book is an excellent basis for a course on computational geometry; many interesting exercises and hints for further reading give suitable guidance for teachers and for students." Mathematical Reviews

Book Description

This is the newly revised and expanded edition of the most suitable textbook for introducing undergraduate students in computer science and mathematics to the design of geometry algorithms. Such algorithms lie at the core of a variety of practical areas, including 3D game program design, geographical information systems, manufacturing design, and robotics. The self-contained treatment presumes only an elementary knowledge of mathematics, but reaches topics on the frontier of current research. Thus, though it is designed for a course at the advanced undergraduate level, it can be used for graduate courses as well. Numerous exercises are provided at the end of every section; a partial solutions manual is available.A novel aspect of the book is the inclusion of working computer programs for many of the algorithms. Students will enjoy the interplay between practical programming issues and the latest theoretical developments; many student projects can be built on the provided code.

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Tracts in Theoretical Computer Science
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (October 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521649765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521649766
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a professor of Computer Science and of Mathematics at Smith College in Massachusetts in the USA. (And now I am a Dean at the college). My specialty is computational geometry, a mix of algorithms (CS) and geometry (Math). My most recent work and books are focused on folding & unfolding. More information at my web page: .

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Anyone who is involved in areas such as computer graphics, computational radiology, robot vision, or visualization software should have a copy of this book. The author has done a fine job of introducing the most important algorithms in computational geometry, choosing the C language for their implementation. The choice of C might be somewhat dated now, since C++ is now beginning to dominate computational geometry, but readers who are actually programming these algorithms using C++ can easily extend the ones in the book to C++. Not all of the algorithms in the book are implemented into C, unfortunately, but the clarity of presentation is done well enough to make this implementation a fairly straightforward task. My interest in the book came from a need to design and implement algorithms for polyhedra in VRML and toric varieties in algebraic geometry. This book, along with others, was a great help in that regard. The running time of these algorithms was not really an issue with me, so the detail the author spends on discussing the complexity of the algorithms was not a concern. Readers who need to pay attention to running-time issues will appreciate his discussion of them for the algorithms that are presented.
The ability to visualize objects in an abstract subject like algebraic geometry boils down to, in the case of toric varieties, to a consideration of how to manipulate polytopes geometrically. A major portion of the book, if not all of it, is devoted to the computational geometry of polyhedra. Because it is an introductory book, some more advanced topics, such as Bayesian methods to find similarities between polyhedra, and neural network approaches to classifying polyhedral objects are not treated. Readers who need to do such things will be well-prepared for them after a study of this book.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Bob Williamson ( on July 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
O'Rourke's approach reflects the essence of both "Computational Geometry" and the "C language" --- concise yet profound. The book covers the core subjects of Computational Geometry: polygon partitioning, convex hulls, Voronoi diagrams / Delaunay triangulation, "arrangements" of lines, geometric searching, and motion planning.
The book assumes some familiarity with the C language, but is very readable even for non-C programmers. This is an excellent text for use as an introduction to Computational Geometry, a primer for Preparata & Shamos, while at the same time it's an excellent addendum to that more seminal text. By weaving working code into his presentation, O'Rourke gives traction to the powerful engine of Preparata & Shamos.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jason on February 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was pleasantly surprising: I had expected to see code presented with minimal motivation or discussion of the underlying ideas -- something of a "Computational Geometry for Dummies" sort of book. That's not the case at all. This is a bona fide textbook on the subject, suitable for an undergraduate course.
It covers all of the the "classical" topics: convex hulls, line segment intersection, polygon triangulation, Voronoi diagrams, motion planning.
The mode of presentation -- supporting a discussion of the theories with implementable code -- is actually a bit refreshing. For comparison: Other books, when discussing the line segment intersection problem (ie: Given a set of line segments, find all of their intersection points) simply assume that computing the intersection of a pair of segments can be done in constant time. This is not an especially difficult problem, but the discussion seems more complete with a brief description of how this might be done. The same can be said about other primitive tests and operations in other algorithms.
Overall, this book can stand alone as an excellent introduction to computational geometry, but a serious student in the subject will want more: perhaps Preparata and Shamos or de Berg et. al.
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42 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Pete Gonzalez ( on March 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book provides a reasonable introduction to the field of computational geometry, although the notation is sometimes sloppy and the author frequently makes inconsistent assumptions about the reader. For example, on the first page he refers to a circle as a "one-dimensonial set of points," which although valid from a toplogical perspective is a little confusing in an introductory text. As another example, the first exercise refers to "every point in dP," presumably meaning just the corner points (otherwise the problem would be unsolvable). The book also sets up a lot of irrelevant mathematical definitions that generally obfuscate the presentation rather than clarifying it. Although not prohibitive for the ambitious reader, these needless hindrances are at best a little annoying.
Secondly, I must criticize the text's scope, in light of the important role computational geometry has played in modern computer graphics. There is no discussion of clipping, culling, occlusion (e.g. BSP, octree, OBB), or even non-polygon primitives -- important topics arguably more useful to the target audience than e.g. convex hulls (to which over 1/4 of the book's pages are devoted).
Regardless, this book (combined with a professor and a course) probably would serve quite well as an undergraduate text. Readers interested in a cookbook of applied graphics algorithms, however, should look elsewhere.
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