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Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers Paperback – May 5, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 116 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future offers a great way to find out what computer science is really about. In this very readable book, MacCormick (a computer scientist at Dickinson College) shows how a collection of sets of intangible instructions invented since the 1940s has led to monumental changes in all our lives. . . . MacCormick provides a taste of why we computer scientists get so excited about algorithms--for their utility, of course, but also for their beauty and elegance."---Paul Curzon, Science

"Most people know little and care less about how, say, electronic payments are kept secure or how movies are crammed onto DVDs. But as MacCormick shows, they're the result of often stunning ingenuity and creativity. . . . For insights into the thinking that can turn gigabytes into gigabucks, start here."---Robert Matthews, BBC Focus

"Algorithms are the controls that drive the engines of the Internet age. Here, MacCormick provides a popular account of several algorithms that affect people's everyday lives.", Choice

"John MacCormick's Nine Algorithms that Changed the Future joins a small set of books that have tried to communicate the nature of the field for a general audience. MacCormick provides something like a quick package tour, with stops at a few highlights--the 'great algorithms' of the title. . . . MacCormick has provided a nice introductory tour, suitable for those who are willing to commit to only a brief visit. Perhaps the taste that he provides will inspire some of those tourists to a more extensive exploration."---Cary Gray, Books &amp; Culture

"[MacCormick] masterfully uses everyday analogies in a way that gets to the heart of the ideas (he calls them tricks) that make the algorithms work. While this is essential for readers without mathematical background, the other lesson that jumps out is that this is a great way to introduce these algorithms to mathematics and computer science students who will go on to more in-depth treatments. . . . This excellent survey is an outstanding achievement and would make an excellent library acquisition."---Art Gittleman, MAA Reviews

"[This is an] extraordinary achievement in the daunting task of presenting computer science for a popular audience."---Ernest Davis, Popular (Computer) Science

"These revolutionary algorithms have changed our world: this book unlocks their secrets, and lays bare the incredible ideas that our computers use every day.", Zentralblatt MATH

"An easy to read introduction to algorithms for a non-technical audience."---Ben Everard, Linux Voice

"The book will certainly delight not only readers with little or no computer science background, but computer scientists as well."---Y. Narahari, Current Science

"MacCormick leaves the reader with a sense of the engine that powers the networked world. And at its best, Nine Algorithms enables you to recognise the real world and begin to see those algorithms alive and kicking all around us."---Kevin Slavin, New Scientist

Review

"It's been a long time since any book has given me the excitement I remember from reading Hawking and Feynman in my teens. This book does exactly that. It reminds me why I love computer science. MacCormick's explanations are easy to understand yet they tell the real story of how these algorithms actually work. This is a book that deserves not just to be admired, but celebrated."―Andrew Fitzgibbon, creator of Emmy-winning camera software and consultant for the Xbox 360 Kinect

"This book is for those who have wondered, 'What actually goes on in my computer?' MacCormick clearly explains some of the algorithms used by hundreds of millions of people daily. Not the simple algorithms like arithmetic and sorting, but more complex things such as how to determine the importance of web pages, if and when we are justified in trusting a computer-mediated conversation with another person, and the puzzling issue of what cannot be computed. I recommend it highly."―Chuck Thacker, winner of the 2010 Turing Award

"This is a delightful exploration, in layman's terms, of nine beautiful algorithms that are essential to today's computers. Using clever analogies, MacCormick gives readers a greater knowledge of both the technology they use every day and the intellectual underpinnings of computing. He combines a mathematician's appreciation of powerful ideas and an educator's skill at explaining them in an engaging way."―Sharon Perl, Google

"MacCormick picks nine algorithms for his version of 'genius awards,' and they are good ones. The reader comes away with a new sense of what genius in computer science looks like. And MacCormick leaves room for a future genius, perhaps inspired by this book, to someday make it a top ten list."―William H. Press, coauthor of Numerical Recipes

"John MacCormick has taken many of the algorithms that we rely on every day and explained them in a way that you can understand even if you have a meager mathematical background. I particularly like how he explains public-key cryptography by analogy to mixing paint."―Thomas H. Cormen, Dartmouth College

"MacCormick does a great job of explaining sophisticated ideas in a simple way, and his analogies are wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the thoughtful and detailed historical asides."―Amy N. Langville, coauthor of Google's PageRank and Beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings

Product details

  • Item Weight : 12 ounces
  • Paperback : 232 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780691158198
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0691158198
  • Product Dimensions : 6.25 x 1 x 9.25 inches
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press; 4.5.2013 Edition (May 5, 2013)
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : 0691158193
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 116 ratings