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"wossnamex" (Disgruntlesville, England)

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The Art of Computer Programming Boxed Set (Volumes 1-3)
The Art of Computer Programming Boxed Set (Volumes 1-3)
by Donald E. Knuth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 199.90
9 used & new from CDN$ 199.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So close but yet..., Dec 25 2001
Having seen loads of reviews about this book being essential for any computer programmer, I am disappointed to learn that this actually means only Machine Language programmers. Not C, not C++, not Fortran, Cobol or Delphi...Not even Basic.
The author has seen it fit to ignore all popular programming languages to use for his examples' code. Instead, he uses a meta-Assembly language which he has made up out of thin air, for this important purpose.
I can't tell you how p***** off I am not to be able to understand a damn word of his coded algorithms. The excuse of being able to go 'low level' inside the computers memory and such is too thin, I would happily pay twice the marked price if the examples were in C, C++ or any language higher than this indecipherable pseudo-ASM!
It is such a shame that this is the case because the books are of a very high quality indeed, the author has a rare talent for conveying these fantastic concepts using plain english, but I'm at a loss as to how to implement tham on an actual computer. Which rather defeats the point of this set.
And to make things worse, its not even a standard ASM dialect, not even close.
Unless you are an ASM god (at least you shouldn't have any trouble understanding and 'porting' his pretend code) and/or Masters degree mathematician, I would steer clear of this one.
Why why why not C++, Mr Knuth, please tell me! :(

Neural Networks for Pattern Recognition
Neural Networks for Pattern Recognition
by Christopher M. Bishop
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 131.95
43 used & new from CDN$ 60.13

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing from my point of view, Sept. 9 2001
I was looking forward to a detailed insight into neural networks in this book. Instead, almost every page is plastered up with sigma notation (which gets incredibly tedious after the first 5 chapters). The author relies on formulae too much to impart his obviously vast expertise onto the reader. I am an above average computer programmer, and I understand most of the concepts in this book, since I have come across them in my other research projects. But Bishop does very little to explain some of the important key concepts in this book. For example, why so much mileage can be gotten out of integrals and sequences in this field is mystifying. Practical knowledge if NN's are not only assumed but taken completely for granted!
I imagine that a great deal of knowledge can be gleaned from this compendious tome, but it is very hard reading.
Good use of graphics though. I just wish this book was twice as long, so he could have fitted in some more background info. Then and only then will this book be worth its £26 asking price in my opinion.
I just hope it comes in useful one day!

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