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F# for Scientists Hardcover – August 4, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0470242117 ISBN-10: 0470242116 Edition: 1st

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F# for Scientists + Programming F# 3.0 + Expert F# 3.0 (Expert's Voice in F#)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Interscience; 1 edition (August 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470242116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470242117
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The hardbound book is a really solid treatment." (Computing Reviews, February 5, 2009)

From the Back Cover

"This work strikes a balance between the pure functional aspects of F# and the object-oriented and imperative features that make it so useful in practice, enable .NET integration, and make large-scale data processing possible."
—Thore Graepel, PhD, Researcher, Microsoft Research Ltd.

Over the next five years, F# is expected to become one of the world's most popular functional programming languages for scientists of all disciplines working on the Windows platform. F# is free and, unlike MATLAB® and other software with numerical/scientific origins, is a full-fledged programming language.

Developed in consultation with Don Syme of Microsoft Research Ltd.—who wrote the language—F# for Scientists explains and demonstrates the powerful features of this important new programming language. The book assumes no prior experience and guides the reader from the basics of computer programming to the implementation of state-of-the-art algorithms.

F# for Scientists begins with coverage of introductory material in the areas of functional programming, .NET, and scientific computing, and goes on to explore:

  • Program structure

  • Optimization

  • Data structures

  • Libraries

  • Numerical analysis

  • Databases

  • Input and output

  • Interoperability

  • Visualization

Screenshots of development using Visual Studio are used to illustrate compilation, debugging, and interactive use, while complete examples of a few whole programs are included to give readers a complete view of F#'s capabilities.

Written in a clear and concise style, F# for Scientists is well suited for researchers, scientists, and developers who want to program under the Windows platform. It also serves as an ideal supplemental text for advanced undergraduate and graduate students with a background in science or engineering.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
An excellent book that presents a broad set of examples of use of F#.
Litsios James
I would highly recommend this book - it's a pleasure to read, and has proven to be a useful reference for me so far.
M. Sottile
Anyway, this is a must-have book if you're doing anything with F# - or just considering it.
Jamie Bernardin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Seattle Reader on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As much as I have enjoyed and learned from this book in the past few years, at this time I can only rate it one star, because the F# language has changed a lot since this book was published.

I Strongly Suggest: do not get this older F# book. Instead get a newer F# book.

Here are your new-enough choices on Amazon today:
Smith Programming F#: A comprehensive guide for writing simple code to solve complex problems (Animal Guide)
Syme Expert F# 2.0 (The Definitive Guide)
Pickering Beginning F#
Petricek Real World Functional Programming: With Examples in F# and C#
and lastly a pre-order-only until June 30: Neward Professional F# 1.0

F# is much newer than many programming languages, for example Python. At this point in Python's history, if you wanted to study Python, you could get by with a book on Python 2.x, rather than a book on current Python 3.x - in fact a lot of shops are still using Python 2.x

But nobody is using F# 1.x anymore! And here in the year 2010 you will hit many more difficulties learning F# from an old F# 1.x book than you would learning Python from an old Python 2.x book.

This old book is based on early versions of F# 1.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Spk on November 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am brand new to functional programming and this is my 3rd book having gone through both Foundations of F# and Expert F# which details the language very well. However, I was blown away with this book. While it does have some technical elements/examples to it, I found that it helped me bridge the gaps in some topics I did not fully grasp from the other two books.

This was written prior to the F# Sept 2008 CTP and due to changes in the language, one or two examples (again,let me stress just a few) needed to be modified in order to be compatible with the changes.

I enjoyed all the topics immensely but without a background in DirectX or 3D programming, while the chapter on visualization is beautiful, it is challenging. My readings in WPF3D helped a lot in parsing what was going on here. In addition, while there is information on using Windows Forms, I wished there was a section (or two!) on WPF. However, the F# Journal (by the same author) does have a few articles on WPF which are also very excellent.

The only thing is that, sometimes, the explanations for the examples are not very thorough, and it is a bit daunting as a beginner. One such example is the Powerset from 6.4.15 (p167) which took a while to work through. As such, I made a blog post just for this detailing how to get the solution for this.

This is not a book to, per say, 'learn F#', the previous two are for that. F# for Scientsts is great if you already have the basics at hand. All in all, I HIGHLY recommend this book. It is an excellent resource/reference and in my opinion, it is one of those books you have handy -> Just in case.

Overall A+.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By lew on July 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Misleading title. There is nothing "scientific" in this book. This is more or less standard collection of basic data structures and algorithms. However, you do these differently in F# than in Java. If you want to program nontrivial problems in F#, you need this book all the time. The best F# book among available
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven B. on October 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being mathematically and scientifically oriented (and a fan of functional programming) I was destined to like this book.
This book shows you how to use F# in a scientific context. The other F# books show you the mechanics, this one tells you how to drive it at full speed and take the corners. Numerics, Parsing, Visualization, it's all in here.
The only two non-positive comments I can make about this book are:
- I wish the visualization chapter used WPF3D instead of DirectX
- I wish there was some tiny description for at least some of the arguments/variables used (p, q, f, n, w, etc). The reason being some of the subjects covered are non-trivial already and having to figure out the construction elements becomes time consuming.
With that said, the book is wonderful and if you end up liking it as much as I did, there's a paid subscription to a journal by the same author where you'll get bimonthly articles along the same line of this book.
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