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The Science of Programming (Monographs in Computer Science)

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387964805
ISBN-10: 0387964800
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gries is William L. Lewis Professor of Engineering and Cornell Weiss Presidential Fellow, Computer Science Department, Cornell University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Monographs in Computer Science
  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Springer (October 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387964800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387964805
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book provides an excellent introduction to logic and then shows how by using the language of logic and mathematics to specify pre-conditions and post-conditions one can develop provably correct programs from these pre-conditions and post-conditions.
I have used the methods in this book to develop advanced algorithms in Computer Graphics which could not have been developed in any other way.
The book is both a tutorial and reference. It is clearly written and organized.
When I first read this book, it was as though a bolt of lightning had struck me. Applying its methods, I became a much better programmer. I went from someone who struggled to get the code right to someone who always got the code right. For the first time I understood what programming was all about. I read the book on vacation while my wife and I were staying at my father's home in Sag Harbor New York and it was one of the most incredible intellectual adventures of my life. I'll never forget the smell of the sea and the sand and the logic going off like lightning flashes inside my brain.
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Format: Hardcover
The book deals with the way of development of programs using mathematical principles. This line of observation ( mentioned in the preface) " One can not learn to write large programs effectively until one has learned to write small ones effectively" captures the motivation of the book. There are three parts; part I introduces predicate logic; it includes natural deduction system; Part II builds the mathematical treatment of the programming constructs like assignment, alternative, iterative command and procedure call. Part III shows how programs are developed and proved correct using the mathematical principles discussed earlier. Given the nature of the area, the book is written with a lot of attention to instructional impact. The best recommendation for the book is by Dijkstra: The topic deserves no less author... To get the message across requires a scientist that combines his scientific involvement in the subject with the precious gifts of a devoted teacher".
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Format: Hardcover
Simply put, a book that re-introduces the idea of program correctness over all else. An excellent source on program design & analysis, checking for correctness using a logic-based approach. A book that builds from the fundamentals. Not for those who are looking for quick fixes.
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Format: Paperback
For a long time, I struggled with the correctness of my code.

I have to admit I'm one of those guys who just wish my code would "somehow" work.
If in a good day my code passed all tests, I would be "convinced" it's correct.
I haven't realized how stupid that was until I came across this book.

This book was written 25 years ago, however I still find the techniques quite advanced, the way it reasons about correctness quite profound.

If you decide to pick up this book (yay!), a bit of advice:
1. Don't think it as "another" programming language book you can skim quickly, you really need to grasp the ideas behind those seemingly natural theorems & proofs.
2. Prof. David Gries himself stressed a few times in the book that even attempting to prove some of the theorems would change the way you think. So make sure you solve the problems in the exercises, you'll be surprised the concept is not as simple as it seems.
3. Find a quiet spot :) You probably don't want to read this while on a bus or subway.

Enjoy the journey!
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