- Hardcover: 1184 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press; 2nd edition (September 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262032937
- ISBN-13: 978-0262032933
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 2.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition 2nd Edition
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Aimed at any serious programmer or computer science student, the new second edition of Introduction to Algorithms builds on the tradition of the original with a truly magisterial guide to the world of algorithms. Clearly presented, mathematically rigorous, and yet approachable even for the math-averse, this title sets a high standard for a textbook and reference to the best algorithms for solving a wide range of computing problems.
With sample problems and mathematical proofs demonstrating the correctness of each algorithm, this book is ideal as a textbook for classroom study, but its reach doesn't end there. The authors do a fine job of explaining each algorithm. (Reference sections on basic mathematical notation will help readers bridge the gap, but it will help to have some math background to appreciate the full achievement of this handsome hardcover volume.) Every algorithm is presented in pseudo-code, which can be implemented in any computer language, including C/C++ and Java. This ecumenical approach is one of the book's strengths. When it comes to sorting and common data structures, from basic linked lists to trees (including binary trees, red-black, and B-trees), this title really shines, with clear diagrams that show algorithms in operation. Even if you just glance over the mathematical notation here, you can definitely benefit from this text in other ways.
The book moves forward with more advanced algorithms that implement strategies for solving more complicated problems (including dynamic programming techniques, greedy algorithms, and amortized analysis). Algorithms for graphing problems (used in such real-world business problems as optimizing flight schedules or flow through pipelines) come next. In each case, the authors provide the best from current research in each topic, along with sample solutions.
This text closes with a grab bag of useful algorithms including matrix operations and linear programming, evaluating polynomials, and the well-known Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT) (useful in signal processing and engineering). Final sections on "NP-complete" problems, like the well-known traveling salesman problem, show off that while not all problems have a demonstrably final and best answer, algorithms that generate acceptable approximate solutions can still be used to generate useful, real-world answers.
Throughout this text, the authors anchor their discussion of algorithms with current examples drawn from molecular biology (like the Human Genome Project), business, and engineering. Each section ends with short discussions of related historical material, often discussing original research in each area of algorithms. On the whole, they argue successfully that algorithms are a "technology" just like hardware and software that can be used to write better software that does more, with better performance. Along with classic books on algorithms (like Donald Knuth's three-volume set, The Art of Computer Programming), this title sets a new standard for compiling the best research in algorithms. For any experienced developer, regardless of their chosen language, this text deserves a close look for extending the range and performance of real-world software. --Richard Dragan
Topics covered: Overview of algorithms (including algorithms as a technology); designing and analyzing algorithms; asymptotic notation; recurrences and recursion; probabilistic analysis and randomized algorithms; heapsort algorithms; priority queues; quicksort algorithms; linear time sorting (including radix and bucket sort); medians and order statistics (including minimum and maximum); introduction to data structures (stacks, queues, linked lists, and rooted trees); hash tables (including hash functions); binary search trees; red-black trees; augmenting data structures for custom applications; dynamic programming explained (including assembly-line scheduling, matrix-chain multiplication, and optimal binary search trees); greedy algorithms (including Huffman codes and task-scheduling problems); amortized analysis (the accounting and potential methods); advanced data structures (including B-trees, binomial and Fibonacci heaps, representing disjoint sets in data structures); graph algorithms (representing graphs, minimum spanning trees, single-source shortest paths, all-pairs shortest paths, and maximum flow algorithms); sorting networks; matrix operations; linear programming (standard and slack forms); polynomials and the Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT); number theoretic algorithms (including greatest common divisor, modular arithmetic, the Chinese remainder theorem, RSA public-key encryption, primality testing, integer factorization); string matching; computational geometry (including finding the convex hull); NP-completeness (including sample real-world NP-complete problems and their insolvability); approximation algorithms for NP-complete problems (including the traveling salesman problem); reference sections for summations and other mathematical notation, sets, relations, functions, graphs and trees, as well as counting and probability backgrounder (plus geometric and binomial distributions).
From the Publisher
There are books on algorithms that are rigorous but incomplete and others that cover masses of material but lack rigor. Introduction to Algorithms combines rigor and comprehensiveness. The book covers a broad range of algorithms in depth, yet makes their design and analysis accessible to all levels of readers. Each chapter is relatively self-contained and can be used as a unit of study. The algorithms are described in English and in a pseudocode designed to be readable by anyone who has done a little programming. The explanations have been kept elementary without sacrificing depth of coverage or mathematical rigor.
The first edition became the standard reference for professionals and a widely used text in universities worldwide. The second edition features new chapters on the role of algorithms, probabilistic analysis and randomized algorithms, and linear programming, as well as extensive revisions to virtually every section of the book. In a subtle but important change, loop invariants are introduced early and used throughout the text to prove algorithm correctness. Without changing the mathematical and analytic focus, the authors have moved much of the mathematical foundations material from Part I to an appendix and have included additional motivational material at the beginning.
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Top Customer Reviews
A very thick text book about a) the mathematics behind algorithms, and b) a treasure chest of random performance tips.
Who it's for:
This book is for those who want or need to gain a decent grasp of the math for analyzing algorithms, and already have a decent understanding of discrete mathematics and probability.
What's good about it:
I really like this book. It's very high quality, well written, concise, and clear, and it's sprinkled with clever little tips to improve the efficiency of common routines.
You can watch video recordings of the MIT lectures based on the book. Check out "6.046J Introduction to Algorithms" by searching for "ocw 6.046J" in your favorite search engine. The mathematical prerequisite course is also available in text form on MIT's OpenCourseWare; it can be found by searching for "ocw 6.042J spring 2005".
* Don't bother with this book unless you have a high aptitude for math
* Don't bother with this book unless you're prepared to work at it
* It's not designed as a reference book; instead it's a study book.
Many reviewers have called this book a "reference", but I have to disagree. A good reference book makes information quickly accessible, but this book would require you to read way too much to be called a reference. A practical reference book for algorithms is "The Algorithm Design Manual" by Steven S. Skiena, assuming you don't require proofs.
The Major Shortcoming!
Given that the book's design is most appropriate for learning things you don't already know, it has one major shortcoming: there are no answers to any of the exercises or problems. That makes the book semi-useless for self-study as well as for instructors who believe in the pedagogic value of students being able to check their answers. The instructor's manual is only available to instructors on the condition that they don't make the answers available.
This book covers a huge amount of material, and many of the topics are described quite adequately. Although readers may already be familiar with the numerous data structures that are discussed, the book doesn't assume prior knowledge and goes into quite a lot of detail concerning them. These sections, in particular, are illustrated clearly and offer great reference material that every programmer should have access to. This portion on data structures is one area where the book's conciseness is an advantage. It's simple enough for the beginner to learn from, but it contains more than enough information for the advanced user in need of mental refreshing.
The opening sections that discuss the rudiments of algorithm analysis are also covered competently. The easier subjects don't suffer from the book's shortcomings, as these ideas aren't quite as difficult to understand. For a simple introduction to the easier-to-grasp concepts in Algorithms, these sections simply can't be bettered. It's not until later chapters that some of the material appears incomprehensible.
Other parts of the book are very confusing to the beginning students who, presumably, make up the bulk of the target audience. If this text is used as an accompaniment to a class (as it usually is), then you'll probably do all right. One really needs to have some other source of information, because this book tends to get quite confusing. The problem sets included are frequently obscure, and don't always relate to the material in that chapter. The fact that many of the problems have no given solution (even if one attempts to contact the authors!) is quite telling. The style of the book is extremely dry and occasionally impenetrable, even when compared to other computer science textbooks.
If you're looking at this page, then no doubt you're looking mainly for pricing information, since this book is the definitive standard on the subject. Keep in mind that "definitive" doesn't necessarily mean perfect, and, alas, this book is far from perfection. But if you have an alternative method of learning the material, then this is an excellent book to have as accompaniment. And once you've learned the material, you'll find this to be a great resource.