- Hardcover: 750 pages
- Publisher: Pearson; 3 edition (July 9, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0321455363
- ISBN-13: 978-0321455369
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 78 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation (3rd Edition) 3rd Edition
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(a) have already written a review about the book being "too hard"
(b) require (detailed) explanations or examples telling you how what's taught will help you land a Java job
(c) think mathematics or proofs aren't necessary with respect to programming or computer science
, it's not for you.
Is the book always an easy read? No, not for me.
Can it be fruitfully read? Yes. I have no "formal" education and this is the first book I've actively read about the topics it treats. Chapters on regular expressions (, properties of regular sets), and finite automata have been superb. I'm only on chapter three and have already bought a second copy of it so that I can have one on hand at work.
If you enjoy reading The Art of Computer Programming or other books as detailed as that one, you'll also enjoy this book. If you've read or do go read) portions of The Art of Computer Programming, don't feel like you've gained anything from it and thought its approach esoteric / too hard, this book's not for you.
If you enjoy proof, formality and studying hard topics directly applicable to the "real world", you'll love this book. Lexical analysis, formal languages, parsing, compilation, etc. all explicitly involve theorems and concepts contained in this book.
Honestly, if you want to learn about finite automatons, kleene closure, pumping lemma, etc, you are better off watching YouTube videos because the only good thin this book does is overcomplicate the simplest things and present them in a mind bogglingly confusing manner. There is a previous version of this book in pdf form on Google so I recommend just checking that out because it's pretty much the same as this.
It's very simple: Don't use it if _____, and do use it if ____.
Do NOT even THINK of buying this book:
1. If this is going to be your first brush with formal languages and the theory of computation.
2. If you need to get motivated to learn the subject, and you need that "first grasp" on it.
3. If you're taking a first course in the subject, and if you have an IQ below 130!
On the other hand,
You MUST buy this book:
1. If you already have some background, and you want a larger picture.
2. If you will often need an authoritative source for proofs etc.
3. If you need a reference for formalizing concepts touched on elsewhere.
In my MS work, the required text was By Sipser, but the instructor was giving material that was from Hopcroft/Ullman 1979 text. It was the definitive resource, period.
I purchased the 2nd Ed, 2000, Hopcroft/Ullman/Mitwani; it was simpler than the 1st Ed. and easy going. My focus, and all Professors and researchers whom I know who work in a related-area, have this exact edition as a reference when needed!
Chapter Contents and Material Exhibits
The chapters are relatively not big in text but are very-rich in contents, that sometimes, if this is your first read/exposure to Automata theory, then perhaps you may need to read each section more than one time. If you're reading the text in deep, and in chapter 4+, you would really have a full enjoyment of how the authors are going with their exploring the ideas, with motivation. This is not my first text that I read by Ullman, Hopecroft, and Aho, especially, their older texts; their writings are just "amazing."
Try to solve the exercises but not at once. Perhaps the exercises can be divided into 4 categories
1. Simple ones
2. moderate (average), that mayhap need to scratch your brain
3. difficult (beyond average), but not challenging, they are just doable.
4. challenging --> I didn't solve all of this category. They are few.
An Advice: some of the exercises in early chapters might be easier to do once you read the later chapters. This is due in part that the way you are making progress in the material, and another, some depend on and only "ideas" that are explored in later chapters.
I've searched the Internet looking for a (maintainable) Errata list, but there's no one. The text has some typos, and otherwise very minor that you could easily spot. I'll mention some:
One of the, perhaps, typos, is in on of the examples related to the conversion between NFAs to DFAs. Another one also in an example to the PDAs, but don't remember exactly.
The Bottom Line
If you are going to have some future work in Automata and Computational theory, you may grab the 3rd Ed. and/or 2nd Ed. to star with, but for sure you should have the 1st Ed. at your disk; it's a "PRIMER."