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Algorithms in C, Parts 1-4: Fundamentals, Data Structures, Sorting, Searching (3rd Edition) Paperback – Sep 17 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 3 edition (Sept. 17 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201314525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201314526
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 19.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #421,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Paperback
Prof. Sedgewick is a noted authority on searching and sorting algorithms, and a former student of Knuth's. The text is authoritative, lucid, and detailed. It is also full of mistakes, poorly edited, and much of the code has serious and not so serious bugs.
I have the second, corrected printing of this edition. If you purchase this book, consider buying Bently's "Programming Perls" or some other book on debugging software, and consider Sedgewick's book to be an excellent opportunity to debug a standard reference in CS. In addition to scrutinizing the source code, don't accept any statement in Sedgewick unequivocally. Even his formula for computing the variance of a distribution is incorrect (the accompanying code is correct, though it magnifies the roundoff error; read "Numerical Recipies in C" by Press et al for a more civilized calculation). Many of his proofs have off by one errors, he misdefines the "transitive" property as "associative". Get the lastest printing available, eventually enough students and instructors will have gone through this book to ferret out most of its errors. There are no giant lapses in reasoning, and once it makes it out of beta, this should be a very fine book.
A much better investment would be "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen, Lieserson, Rivest, a vastly superior and more interesting text. It has far greater scope of coverage on the subject of algorithms, and is both clearer and more carefully written, one of the most illuminating books I've read. However, volume 1 of Sedgewick, as it focuses solely on searching and sorting, covers these areas in greater depth, and discusses practical implementation issues, such as sentinels and hybrid sorts. As such, Sedgewick is a good compliment to CLR. Bear in mind that it is more densely written than CLR, and hence requires a more careful reading.
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Format: Paperback
Errors start right from the beginning with code listing 1.2 ( three errors in four liner) and goes on with ambiguous coding style. Even for a junior programmer it won't be proper to make his code public with such an errors.
If you want to debug authors code for free, this is the book for you. However, considering that it is third edition already and errors are still there, the author probably won't care much if you correct it anyway. Or does he? Yes, I was frustrated, wasting two hours of beautiful Saturday morning on scraping supposedly impeccable code.
His acclaimed teacher Dr. Knuth was smarter providing code in 'toy' language that nobody use, test or bother to correct even for $1K, but he at least never promised to provide you any useful code.
In general, easy readable text, good style, much better than some other books, but yet, superfluous coverage of algorithms analysis. It would have been less misleading if author drops 'in C' for something implementation independent. But on the contrary, the author went on with 'in C++', 'in Java'. Given the pattern of lax coding here, I wonder are those books just as 'slippery'.
As for algorithms in C, I think that even the related parts of "Introductory C" by Petersen will be more useful. It works there.
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Format: Paperback
I haven't been into algorithms and such things for very long, and yet I find that, with a bit of patience and good will, it's not that hard to understand, contrary to some other review. Of course, it's a long book, but then, if you can't be perseverant enough to read such a book, the best solution is just to stay home and do something else! If you want the information given in the book, you're jolly well goning to have to read it!
I found this book a very good introduction to algorithms. Of course, as it's a very vast subject, some things were not covered quite as much as some may desire, but this book studies sorting and searching very extensivly, as well as string matching, geometric and mathematical algorithms. It also talks about other subjects such as crytography, data compression, etc, but these are less explained. At any rate, for such subjects as are not fully detailed(in fact, for all subjects), there are references to other books upon the subject.
I think this is a very good book to begin with, because it reaches a compromise between completeness and rigourous mathematical dealing of subjects on the one hand, and readability on the other. It gives explainations about the fundamentals of algorithmics, gives and extensively explains the basic, widely used algorithms, while giving the beginner a view of a wide variety of other subjects, which he can then further investigate if he so desires. After a book such as this, one could very well go onto very advanced algorithmic topics in some very specific field.
And yet, again, it leads you through it step by step so that it fully available to the motivated reader.
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Format: Paperback
There are many books about algorithms, just a few can impress and influence people acting on the very threshold between theoretical research and development of complex software. Robert Sedgewick codes very carefully. Some readers might even fail to recognize the fine details in his code. Try to analyse even the simplest 2-3 liners. Compare the program 4.5 (Linked list implementation of a pushdown stack) or 4.10 (FIFO queue linked list implementation) to similar examples given by lesser authors, figure out the the percentage of redundant code given by others compared to this examples (it is 50% to 300% faster for this elementary cases!).
Another example: Look at the insertion sort with a sentinel. I am not aware of any other book showing this simple improvement. Also none of the insertion sorts which I saw in the practice use this so tiny add-on sentinel to achieve the quite dramatic speedup of the process.
Naturally, in the time of 700MHz processors here and there a couple of extra instructions might appear unimportant, but I disagree. This is a book showing the basic algorithmics and programming practices in their best, down to the "two liners", regardless what the complexity of the task is. These little "pearls" of coding are in the real world running countless times behind the scenes and are important. Look carefully, learn, master to code as he does!
As a very modern text, this is one of the few books dealing at least with some of the newer algorithms, like the skip lists or sorting networks. Not enough, though. Maybe we will see more in the next volume. There are also some omitions of the basic algorithms, which I would expect to be in such a book. See the rather terse chapter 7.
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