- Paperback: 454 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2nd edition (August 6, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521777526
- ISBN-13: 978-0521777520
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,030,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Calendrical Calculations Millennium edition 2nd Edition
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"The work is attractively produced and well written, in a crisp and lucid style, its earnest content lightened by touches of humor and details of history that communicate most effectively the authors' enthusiasm for and knowledge of their subject. The book's major contribution is that, for the first time, it places an authoritative computational specification of all these calendars in the public domain. Indeed, this book supplies the essential tools to enable us to proceed cogently and efficiently toward correlation of all these derivative calendrical systems, and Dershowitz and Reingold are to be congratulated on making such strides toward this goal." ISIS
This new edition of the successful calendars book is being published at the turn of the millenium and expands the treatment of the previous edition to new calendar variants. As interest grows in the impact of seemingly arbitrary calendrical systems upon our daily lives, this book frames the calendars of the world in a completely algorithmic form. The book gives a description of fourteen calendars and how they relate to one another. Easy conversion among these calendars is a byproduct of the approach, as is the determination of secular and religious holidays. Calendrical Calculations makes accurate calendrical algorithms readily available for computer use with LISP and Java code included on CD. This new edition will be a valuable resource for working programmers, as well as a fount of useful algorithmic tools for computer scientists.
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The details and discussions of how they approach problems like the visibility of sunset are amazing and really opened my eyes to the difficulties of creating an accurate calendar under different systems. This book covers everything I could think of and quite a few ideas I would never consider.
I would give it 5 stars, except that the code and algorythms provided in the book are copyrighted and can not be used without explicit permission of the authors. I contacted the authors for a project I had, but it was determined that I could not use their algorithms since I intended to release under GNU license.
This was a big deal for me, which is why I'm giving it a one star review.
If the code was freely available, I'd probably give it 3-4 stars. I found the content frustratingly hard to decipher.
Firstly, lisp code, is not universal. I found it hard to adapt to lisp, and I have had to resort to the Java code which I am more familiar. I think the authors should have chosen non-specific coding routines, and shown more mathematical, intuitive ways of presenting the information. The presentation of the algorithms is somewhat cumbersome - especially the definitions.
Secondly, I deal with one calendar only, and my interest lies really, mainly with the Hebrew Calendar. I was disappointed that I had to refer to the Coptic Calendar for obtaining data for the Hebrew Calendar. It means I have to have code from both calendars, and I have to figure out what details I need from one system to the other. I would have liked to see each calendar dealt with as a totality in of itself.
Thirdly, The errata list is too long. The authors should present the corrections without all the added information (however useful). I'm not prepared to sift through a hundred pages looking for mistakes (especially minor ones), however interesting the added material maybe. It should be separately listed so I can easily refer to the critical mistakes if need be. I did note that there were very few critical mistakes.
Fourthly I felt the presentation of the algorithms were difficult to comprehend at first glance. Someone who is new to the field of algorithms, and presentation mathematically would find difficult to master. Was it not possible to simply state a definition and provide algorithmic reference, as opposed to viewing the function, knowing what it does, but not actually seeing the internal details of that function is very difficult to process.
I felt the reference system was not clear. I could not fathom why at some stages the authors did not mention their sources on a particular topic (with a proper endnote reference), in the text itself, and at other times, there was adequate references to the end notes. There was some confusion I had on whether the numbers were referring to footnotes, endnotes or actual numbers.
Otherwise it was a good summary of the overall calendars. And many points were raised and dealt with in a comprehensive manner. I would have liked an algorithm to process the Parshios (Torah Readings) for the Hebrew Calendar.
Perhaps "anonymous" would have been happier if we did not share the details of errors with readers, but we feel it is in the reader's interest to have the errata open to public.