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Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing, Second Edition 2nd Edition

45 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521431088
ISBN-10: 0521431085
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Editorial Reviews


" instant `classic,' a book that should be purchased and read by anyone who uses numerical methods..." American Journal of Physics

"No matter what language you program in, these packages are classics, both as a textbook or reference. They are an essential and valuable addition to the academic, professional, or personal library." Internet

"The new book exceeds, if possible, the excellence of its predecessor: it is about 50 percent longer and has been thoroughly updated...The bibliographical material has been considerably extended and updated...For new users, it is sufficient to say that practically every aspect of numerical analysis is covered...This monumental and classic work is beautifully produced and of literary as well as mathematical quality. It is an essential component of any serious scientific or engineering library." A. D. Booth, Computing Reviews

"If you already have the first edition, will you want or need the second? The answer is a definitive yes...a book that should be on your desk (not your shelf) if you have any interest in the analysis of data or the formulation of models." Lyle W. Konigsberg, Human Biology

"...the second [edition] expands the scope of coverage and continues the standard of excellence achieved in the first. If you were to have only a single book on numerical methods, this is the one I would recommend." Edmund Miller, IEEE Computational Science & Engineering

"...remarkably contains many more routines than many commercial mathematics packages..." Byte

"The authors are to be congratulated for providing the scientific community with a valuable resource." The Scientist

"...replete with the standard spectrum of mathematically pretreated and coded/numerical routines for linear equations, matrices and arrays, curves, splines, polynomials, functions, roots, series, integrals, eigenvectors, FFT and other transforms, distributions, statistics, and on to ODE's and PDE's...such an delightful..." Physics in Canada

Book Description

This is the revised and expanded second edition of the hugely popular Numerical Recipes: the Art of Scientific Computing. The product of a unique collaboration among four leading scientists in academic research and industry, Numerical Recipes is a complete text and reference book on scientific computing.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 994 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (October 30, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521431085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521431088
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.7 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 111 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I give the book 4 stars to maintain the current level. I own a Fortran copy of NR, but like the other authors, I like NR for the explanations of algorithms, but not for the code.
There is a VERY good alternative to Numerical Recipes in C, namely GNU Scientific Library. You can find the source code and manual from:
As typical GNU software, GSL is licensed under GNU General Public License, so it is ABSOLUTELY free ! You can download it, modify it, linked it with your own code, without feeling guilty of copyright violation (Not in the case of NR, NR comes with a copyright license to prohibit modification and linking).
GSL is written in C from scratch by its author. The design is modern, much better than NR in C, and also allowed linking with C++ or modern scripting language like Python. Some of the leading authors have background in theoretical physics and astrophysics, just like NR authors.
Check it out. You lose nothing to check GSL first, you may ended up saving some $$$.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I first bought the FORTRAN version of this text in 1994 while doing scientific programming for graduate school work. I've been able to do a lot of basic research quickly with NR codes, and I still occasionally use NR's routines. The authors have certainly done a good job assimilating a lot of material in the NR series. Since other reviewers have done well to highlight the importance and utility of this landmark series, there is no need to repeat those sentiments here. I also agree with earlier reviewers applauding this title more as a survey or reference work and less as a library of source code. However, to this title's detriment, the authors actually consider the NR series to be a proprietary library of source code more valuable than the explanatory text surrounding it (one can in fact download the text on-line from the publisher though it's hardly worth the hassle). This perception is ironic since the authors confess that "the lineage of many programs in common circulation is often unclear," and many details of presentation, ideas, and algorithms are clearly "borrowed" from other excellent (some now out-of-print) numerical methods books or journals.
Unfortunately, much of the source code in the 1993 C edition appears FORTRANish and is not very efficient as far as the C language goes (one would hope that improvements are coming in the new C edition, ISBN 0521574382). However, even the original FORTRAN NR routines occasionally adopted bizarre and/or obviously inefficient programming structures - over time I decided that this was probably done to make these algorithms appear as so not to obviously plagerize other published material.
Many programmers try to get around this by reworking the NR codes.
Read more ›
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Wolf on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent text, filled with code segments, a few equations, and lots of glorious plain english *words* in which the authors share their practical experience on how to go about getting useful work done. If you've ever wanted to really understand numerical methods, or just want to make an intelligent choice between alternative approaches to a problem, this book is a gold mine.
The code itself, however, is a bit quaint. It does compile, and mostly work, but it's not the sort of thing you'd want to gamble a medical instrument or space flight on. (The code has the look and feel of 30 year old fortran which was rudely translated to C by some hapless grad student.)
Take the time to understand the routines that really matter for your application and reimplement them, with better error checking and/or optimizations to suit your needs. (Very likely the first thing you'll do is a global search to replace the string "float" with "double". That alone will bring the code out of the 70's and up to somehwere in the middle 80's)
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Elderbear VINE VOICE on March 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Numerical Recipes is the perfect book for a programmer who took the required math classes and has since forgotten much of the material. Here you will encounter brief, theoretical discussions about how to solve common numerical problems, followed by implementations in C, and finished off with a few suggestions for further reading.
I've actually found the explanations about how to solve problems more useful than the code they provide. Their C coding style seems to harken back to FORTRAN days. I've also translated from C to MatLab and IDL in some instances (on one occasion, translating the MatLab routine back to C a few years later!)
Elsewhere on the net, mathematical critiques can be found. If you're trying to solve a critical problem, hunt these down. It bothered me to find vectors referenced from 1 to n as opposed to 0 to n-1, the way I'm used to seeing them in C code.
But, for practical use, this book is difficult to beat. It makes, at the very least, a great starting point, especially for those of us who last took a math class 18 years ago and find the details foggy. Kind of like The Joy of Cooking. A good, basic reference to keep around, but not the final word on gourmet programming.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dumitru Erhan on June 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I had to endure reading this book for 2 long semesters, and I've come to know some parts of it pretty well. I'll try to be short and say that the book is an excellent reference for the practicioner (and for the poor student:) - however, the ill-placed "jokes" have terribly annoyed me and my fellow class mates. Entire pagagraphs in almost every section dedicated to some second-tier humor were not so helpful in solving numerical problems.
The license for the code is just bad and I found it rather pointless, given the cost of the book (for me it's expensive; and I know it's downloadable). The authors should maybe reconsider this at a later stage...
PS: The GNU Scientific Library implements most, if not all, of the NR routines. It might be worth checking out, since it's also in plain C.
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