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Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming Hardcover – February 20, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0262220699 ISBN-10: 0262220695 Edition: 1st
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Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming + Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) + The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book follows in the fine tradition of Abelson/Sussman and Kamin's book on interpreters, but goes well beyond them, covering functional and Smalltalk-like languages as well as more advanced concepts in concurrent programming, distributed programming, and some of the finer points of C++ and Java.

(Peter Norvig, Google Inc.)

In almost 20 years since Abelson and Sussman revolutionized the teaching of computer science with their Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, this is the first book I've seen that focuses on big ideas and multiple paradigms, as SICP does, but chooses a very different core model (declarative programming). I wouldn't have made all the choices Van Roy and Haridi have made, but I learned a lot from reading this book, and I hope it gets a wide audience.

(Brian Harvey, Lecturer, Computer Science Division, University of California, Berkeley)

From the Inside Flap

"This is a fascinating book. It's been almost 20 years since Abelson and Sussman revolutionized the teaching of computer science with their Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. In all that time, there have been several books (some of them quite good) following SICP's ideas pretty closely, and of course many books following the old pedagogy in which the details of a programming language are the focus, with few deep ideas. But this is the first book I've seen that focuses on big ideas and multiple paradigms, as SICP does, but chooses a very different core model (declarative programming)—the first real intellectual competition to Abelson and Sussman. I wouldn't have made all the choices Van Roy and Haridi have made, but I learned a lot from reading this book, and I hope it gets a wide audience." --Brian Harvey, Lecturer, Computer Science Division, University of California, Berkeley

"This book follows in the fine tradition of Abelson/Sussman and Kamin's book on interpreters, but goes well beyond them, covering functional and Smalltalk-like languages as well as more advanced concepts in concurrent programming, distributed programming, and some of the finer points of C++ and Java." --Peter Norvig, Google Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 936 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 1st edition (February 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262220695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262220699
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #465,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 113 people found the following review helpful By ROBERT B CALCO on March 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a real mind-bender that illuminates paths for computer design at both the conceptual and practical levels I'd never travelled down before.
The notion that one language can be so flexible as to accomodate both the syntax and semantics of so many different computational models, or paradigms, took some unlearning of bad programming practice before its power, elegance and potential began to sink in.
It also explodes the myth that "pure" languages -- i.e., pure OO, or pure functional, etc., languages--have some kind of innate advantage over so-called "hybrid" languages. In fact, "hybrid" (or as the authors would prefer to call them, "multi-paradigm") languages come out of this book looking even more powerful than the "pure" ones, insofar as they allow the programmer to use the right model for each task, instead of trying to make OO fit, for instance, in places where it doesn't fit so well.
The idea here is that each computational model represents a completely different way of approaching a domain problem. Used by themselves, each has its niche. For instance, everybody knows OO is good for domain modelling and busines objects. Prolog-type languages are good for applications that need to apply rules over a set of data. Functional languages are great in mathematical applications. And so on. What is new here is that one can program in an environment in which all of these tools are available in a single core semantics that seamlessly weaves these computational models into a complementary whole. Used together judiciously, with an eye toward program correctness, they make things possible that have long been considered very hard -- for instance, constraint programming.
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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A. McInnes on October 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Modern programming has become fragmented into a variety of computational models (OO, functional, imperative, etc), and a variety of languages supporting those computational models. Neophyte programmers are typically introduced to just one of these models, and only learn the other, "less natural" models later. With CTM, Van Roy and Haridi take an alternative approach. They teach programming as an integrated discipline, and demonstrate the underlying links between the different computational models. By the time the reader is done with the book they will have a much better understanding of the discipline of programming, and will be well-equipped to decide which model is best suited to the task at hand. Reading CTM is an extremely worthwhile experience for anyone wishing to achieve a deep understanding of the art and science of programming.

CTM has been compared to Abelson and Sussman's "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs". They are similar, in the sense that they both provide the reader with a deeper understanding of programming than most programming texts. However, the content of both books is quite different, and it is definitely worth reading both.

Another book that I feel makes a good companion to CTM is Hoare's (sadly hard to come by) "Unifying Theories of Programming". It covers a lot of the same material as CTM, but in a much more theoretical sense. Where CTM is concerned with practical programming, Hoare is concerned with mathematical underpinnings. The two complement each other nicely.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Juris Reinfelds on March 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In 1976 Edsger W. Dijkstra elevated programming to an intellectual discipline and taught us how to reason about what we now call "imperative programming". To illustrate his methodology Dijkstra solved challenging problems with unforgetably beautiful, yet simple and powerful example programs that are as relevant today as they were forty years ago. Since then, programming has splintered into paradigms, methodologies and suffers from baroqueness, perpetuation of obsolete conventions and other practices that restrict the full expressive power of programming "as a whole".
In 2004 Van Roy and Seif Haridi have given us a glimpse of what programming can be like without unnecessary restrictions imposed by paradigms and other heavy baggage caused by politics, ideology and historical inertia. Using the remarkably mature implementation of the Mozart system and the conceptually clean, simple, elegant, yet powerful programming language Oz, Van Roy and Haridi show us how dogmatic heavy baggage falls away when we can look at programming as a whole and choose the best programming concepts that the solution of a problem requires. Such a program becomes simpler, more elegant and therefore less error prone than an equivalent solution that is restricted to a specific paradigm.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tahir Hashmi on June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Ever wondered why it takes so long to pick up your first programming language, when it's C++ or Java? Ever wondered why Object-oriented Programming feels so difficult to get right, even after years of experience?

This books is an amazing study of various programming paradigms (or models, as the authors call them). It starts with the most minimal features required in a programming language, discusses their impact on how you write small programs and then moves on to bigger concepts.

Until you've read this book, you might not realise that multi-threaded object-oriented programming is such a powerful model that it can be used to easily write a lot of real-world applications but this power also makes it tough to master the model because of the many ways you can abuse it. The more powerful a model gets, the more difficult it becomes to verify its correctness without additional tools like debuggers, profilers, etc.

Most importantly, this book can teach you two important things:

* Multi-paradigm programming is more natural (i.e. easier to understand and model real-world concepts in) than 'pure' programming
* Use the least powerful model that can solve the problem at hand naturally (i.e. you don't end up writing a lot of code to work around the model's limitations)

A third thing that they don't enumerate but imply quite obviously is a program design methodology that involves writing large parts of the application using a less powerful and more deterministic model, while harnessing the power of more capable models only for those few components of the application that absolutely need them.
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