- Series: MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
- Hardcover: 657 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press; 2 edition (July 25, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262011530
- ISBN-13: 978-0262011532
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 232 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) 2nd Edition
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Abelson and Sussman's classic Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs teaches readers how to program by employing the tools of abstraction and modularity. The authors' central philosophy is that programming is the task of breaking large problems into small ones. The book spends a great deal of time considering both this decomposition and the process of knitting the smaller pieces back together.
The authors employ this philosophy in their writing technique. The text asks the broad question "What is programming?" Having come to the conclusion that programming consists of procedures and data, the authors set off to explore the related questions of "What is data?" and "What is a procedure?"
The authors build up the simple notion of a procedure to dizzying complexity. The discussion culminates in the description of the code behind the programming language Scheme. The authors finish with examples of how to implement some of the book's concepts on a register machine. Through this journey, the reader not only learns how to program, but also how to think about programming.
About the Author
Hal Abelson is Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a fellow of the IEEE. He is a founding director of Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, and the Free Software Foundation. Additionally, he serves as co-chair for the MIT Council on Educational Technology.
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I used this text last year to teach a one year introduction to computer science to some rather advanced homeschooled high school students. Scheme is a much better choice for a teaching language than C++ or Java. There is no need to deal with memory management issues as with C++ and the development model is simpler than with Java. And scheme makes many things easier to achieve than with other languages: higher-order procedures (chapter 1) and hierarchical data (chapter 2).
For my own enjoyment and personal enrichment I have used chapters 4 and 5 as a basis for my own explicit control evaluator for scheme in C++.
A classic. Every CS graduate should do remedial work now and read this text, if they have not done so already.
Good luck! This will change how you think about software, and in a mind-expanding way.
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