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The Algorithm Design Manual Corrected Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387948607
ISBN-10: 0387948600
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Editorial Reviews


"...the book is an algorithm implementation treasure trove, and putting all of these implementations in one place was no small feat. The list of implementations, an extensive bibliography, and the CD-ROM make the book an invaluable resource for everyone interested in the subject." --ACM Computing Reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 486 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; Corrected edition (November 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387948600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387948607
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book fills a nice niche -- it is practical enough to be useful and accesible to professional programmers (rather than algorithms researchers or academics) but is build on solid theory as well.
Aside from this, the book has several features to recommend it:
(1) There are "war stories" scattered throughout the text. These are special sections that describe the author's experience working with algorithmic problems "in the field". These are particularly interesting because the present false starts and failures along the way to the final solution. This is a nice change from the standard model of simply presenting algorithms and proving them correct.
(2) Unlike others, such as the popular Cormen, Lieserson, Rivest and Stein text -- which is a bit advanced for beginning study -- this really is an introduction to algorithms. It is quite suitable for, say, undergradutes who have taken a couple of basic CS courses.
(3) Chapter 8 is a 250-page "Catalog of Algorithmic Problems". Here, you will find descriptions of hundreds of standard formulations for algorithmic problems along with the basic solution approaches, and -- this is what really sets it apart -- pointers to implementations of these algorithms. This is part of the overall emphasis of the book: that of understanding standard algorithms in order to avoid "reinventing the wheel".
Overall, I recommend this book for people with some programming experience that would like to take their work to the next level. Hardcore computer scientists (especially those with a more theoretical bent) may also benefit from this book, but should consider it a supplement to one of the more advanced texts, such as the above-mentioned CLRS.
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Format: Hardcover
Apart from beeing really useful, this book has two more interesting characteristics: 1. it is very readable 2. it is very amusing/interesting at times. The book is very good if you are a beginner in the subject of computer algorithms, but note that it is not a stand-alone book. You also need a good algorithms textbook to cover the subject of algorithms. Skiena reviews some aspects of the algorithmic theory he regards especially useful/important and presents his interesting perspective, but some times he uses algorithms or techniques he has not presented. What makes this book great is the "War stories", where the author describes real problems and the process that led to the algorithm that solved the problems. Something like Bentley's magnificent book "Programming pearls" (get this one too!). And, of course, the categorized catalog of algorithmic problems, which comprises the bigest part of the book, is almost a guarantee that once you come across a real problem you will shortly know where to look for a solution. Moreover, that solution may already be coded, waiting for you in the CD that comes with the book (which also includes a one-semester lectures of the author in shockwave-audio format).
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Format: Hardcover
In my line of work I am, many times, in need of some algorithm or resource to do some job. Sure I learned many during my B.Sc. studies, and during my work, but some are hard to remember, and some I never knew - and sometimes you just need to know how to call the problem in order to locate resources about it from the internet.
Well - this book solves it all!
One part contains "war stories", which I found very useful, and amusing - After reading them I felt like I learned many lessons.
The second part, which is the reason I bought this book at the first place, is a very impressive catalog of algorithms and problems - you just need to know something about the problem you need to solve, and most probably, your problem will be described here with clear definitions, and some suggested algorithms for solutions and with resources from other books/articles and web resources.
I tell you - so many times this book was the first and only stop in my persue of finding the algorithm I needed.
I'd recommend this book to anyone studying and working with algorithms. This is a must in your bookshelf - even more - it's a must on your table!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are many reasons I like this book more than other Algorithms books I own (e.g. Sedgewick). One is that Skiena's book comes with an HTML version, so it's easy to keep it with you at all times (e.g. on your laptop, at work, and at home). Another is the "war stories". I found that I wanted to read the war stories first, rather than the technical content. Another is that the book points you at existing implementations, which really is what you'll eventually need to look at if you're going to use or write any code.

Overall, I found that when confronted to real world problems, the "Algorithm Design Manual" was a better resource than other Algorithm books. This is why I'm recommending it to software engineers out there. It seems to be written for people working with algorithms to solve problems, rather than as a support for an academic course.

On the negative side: I find the resource catalog to be exhaustive but somewhat shallow. As I'm getting older and slower, some things are not as obvious as they used to be. For example, I was quite unable to derive how to use Voronoi diagrams to perform nearest neighbour search, although it is supposed to be "a simple matter".
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