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Computational Science and Engineering 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521198035
ISBN-10: 0961408812
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Gil Strang has given the discipline of computational science and engineering its first testament in this new and comprehensive book. It surely extends Gil's long tradition of practical, wide-ranging, and insightful books that are invaluable for students, teachers, and researchers alike. If you could have only one book on a desert island, this might be it. --William Briggs, Professor of Mathematics at University of Colorado at Denver, and SIAM Vice-President for Education.

Book Description

Encompasses the full range of computational science and engineering from modeling to solution, whether analytic or numerical. Gilbert Strang has taught this material to thousands of engineers and scientists. Supporting resources, including video lectures, are provided by the author at www-math.mit.edu/cse.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 725 pages
  • Publisher: Wellesley-Cambridge Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961408812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521198035
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James M. Cargal on August 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The following is the review I published in The UMAP Journal (Summer, 2009, Vol 30, no. 2) pp. 175-178.

My second review for this journal [1986] was of Gilbert Strang's Introduction to Applied Mathematics (hereafter IAM). I have never been too happy with that review, where I said that it is a "wonderful book." True enough; but more appropriately, it is an important book, as is the book reviewed here, Computational Science and Engineering (hereafter CSE).

CSE is--and is not--a second edition of IAM. Apparently, it is the result
of more than 20 years of Strang teaching his favorite course at MIT,
presumably out of IAM. Since CSE does not contain everything in IAM
and also contains topics not in IAM, it is a different text. CSE contains
Strang's further ruminations on the nature of applied mathematics, and
I view it as the superior text, but some individuals might prefer IAM. To
some extent, either book represents Strang's philosophy of teaching applied mathematics--that we need a new approach--but this conviction is much more explicit in CSE.

In particular, Strang believes that we should focus on both modeling and
computation. Many books are about one or the other, and he feels that applied mathematics is both. Furthermore, Strang believes that applied problems tend to have a common structure, and Chapter 2 is devoted to illustrating this principle through a wide variety of problems.

In my review of IAM, I tried to give an idea of the range of topics without enumerating the contents. CSE has the same difficulty: Enumerating the topics is tedious, but the titles of the chapters are informative (though listing them does not do justice to the sheer range of content):
1. Applied Linear Algebra
2.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a super collection of lectures. I read it because I wanted to know properly about numerical analysis, something that I've never systematically studied (as an unexpected bonus, I also pícked up a bunch of useful new linear algebra intuitions). If you want a coherent view of this stuff, then this has got to be as good a place to start as you can get. I can't compare the literature, since being painfully aware that I wasn't able to compare the literature was the reason I read it, but if I can't be comparative, I can certainly be positive: Strang is in effortless and complete command of his material, and a pleasure to read.

However, note that these are _lectures_ and consciously written as such (Strang takes a great deal of - entirely justifiable, if you check him out on youtube - pride in his classroom teaching), which means that there are occasional leaps (no bad thing, they make you think), minor lacunae, forward references and so on, all of which would be dealt with in a lecture as casual asides. If you don't want to deal with this sort of thing without him in the room with you, there may be other books out there that are more suitable (though I sort of doubt it).
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Even though I love Prof. Strang for making his lectures available for people like me and even though I liked his linear algebra book, I can not say that this book is excellent. I think that he puts too many topics in one book without giving enough details or depth on any of them. The book is more like a collection of lecture notes rather than a book. If you like to study linear algebra, use his linear algebra book. If you study finite difference method for PDEs, Hoffman's is a much better choice. For numerical linear algebra, there is the book by Trefethen.

So, my suggestion for you is as follows. Pick up the book from a library. And go straight to a topic that you are somewhat familiar with. And try to see if Prof. Strang does an excellent job on that topic. I did that for a few of them, and I found that the book is not sufficient explaining those topics.

By the way, for CG method neither the book nor the video lectures are very useful. You will need the article by Jonathan Richard Shewchuk. You can find it online. This is the best for CG.
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How does one write a review on a computational science book, an academic area that to many is obtuse? Well, first, as a non-engineer or computational scientist, that I even understood enough to write a review speaks volumes to the clarity of this text. It does require a fundamental understanding of linear algebra and calculus. However, even in that regard, I imagine one could easily review the fundamentals either through Prof Strang's recent text (Differential Equations and Linear Algebra) or elsewhere. This book is a useful, actually essential, companion to his online OCW 18.085 course. It presents the facts around how continuous equations of calculus are discretised with linear algebra. It highlights how linear algebra, due to the fact of linearity, allows many non-linear and real world problems to be described and approximate solutions derived. However, the major element that makes this text different is the approach Prof. Strang adopts in his linking of linear algebra to the real problems he examines. It is a combination of passion for the subject area, an engaging and prosaic style of writing, and an approach at the frontier of teaching what in the past have been disparate and (in my experience) rather dull subject areas. This book perfectly illustrates the reality that linear algebra and the techniques it offers science is on the frontier of computation and real world analysis. This reality opens a vacuum for what is both a grounding and springboard text. However, the text also clearly takes the concepts raised to a depth mathematically that would satisfy all but the most trenchant purist. The problem sets are useful in developing concepts and are more than the often-found trickiness in other texts.Read more ›
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