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The Art of Computer Programming Boxed Set (Volumes 1-3) Hardcover – Oct 5 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 2nd edition (Oct. 5 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201485419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201485417
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 12.7 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #703,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"The bible of all fundamental algorithms and the work that taught many of today's software developers most of what they know about computer programming."-- Byte, Sept 1995

"If you think you're a really good programmer, [Knuth's] Art of Computer Programming....You should definitely send me a resume if you can read the whole thing." -- Bill Gates

This Knuth set is perfect for your own reference bookshelf, and makes an ideal gift for any serious student or practitioner of computer programming.

From the Back Cover

This multivolume work is widely recognized as the definitive description of classical computer science. The first three volumes have for decades been an invaluable resource in programming theory and practice for students, researchers, and practitioners alike.


The bible of all fundamental algorithms and the work that taught many of today’s software developers most of what they know about computer programming.

–Byte, September 1995


Countless readers have spoken about the profound personal influence of Knuth’s work. Scientists have marveled at the beauty and elegance of his analysis, while ordinary programmers have successfully applied his “cookbook” solutions to their day-to-day problems. All have admired Knuth for the breadth, clarity, accuracy, and good humor found in his books.


I can’t begin to tell you how many pleasurable hours of study and recreation they have afforded me! I have pored over them in cars, restaurants, at work, at home… and even at a Little League game when my son wasn’t in the line-up.

–Charles Long


Primarily written as a reference, some people have nevertheless found it possible and interesting to read each volume from beginning to end. A programmer in China even compared the experience to reading a poem.


If you think you’re a really good programmer… read [Knuth’s] Art of Computer Programming… You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing.

–Bill Gates


Whatever your background, if you need to do any serious computer programming, you will find your own good reason to make each volume in this series a readily accessible part of your scholarly or professional library.


It’s always a pleasure when a problem is hard enough that you have to get the Knuths off the shelf. I find that merely opening one has a very useful terrorizing effect on computers.

–Jonathan Laventhol


For the first time in more than 20 years, Knuth has revised all three books to reflect more recent developments in the field. His revisions focus specifically on those areas where knowledge has converged since publication of the last editions, on problems that have been solved, on problems that have changed. In keeping with the authoritative character of these books, all historical information about previous work in the field has been updated where necessary. Consistent with the author’s reputation for painstaking perfection, the rare technical errors in his work, discovered by perceptive and demanding readers, have all been corrected. Hundreds of new exercises have been added to raise new challenges.



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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Our consumer society provides us with many choices, and it's considered an insult to have less than a dozen different products from which to pick. This text is not a supermarket item with a *best before date*. It does not exist to provide you with plug-in code for your homework assignment. It's not to compared to the latest *** for Dummies publication. What is it then? It is meant to be a scientific document explaining ideas basic to CS from the ground up, and I would add, in the same class as Euclid, or Newton. How many people alive today have read the major works by either author. I don't mean have they taken courses in mathematics - I mean the actual *translated* documents. Easy access to some of these famous works, and from many other authors, was recently annotated by Stephen Hawking called *God Created the Integers*. Try reading those chapters and see how much you understand. Many of these papers are hundreds of years old, ideas that we've lived with for a very long time, but how many of us have understood the depth of rigor that went into developing the foundation of modern mathematics.

Every age is under the impression that their's is the enlightened one, that knowledge is somehow easier to grasp because we are somehow *smarter* than our ancestors - we want to be able to buy a book and deem it very good if we can learn without effort - take a pill and flash the pages and absorb the ideas through our fingertips.

We go to college and university to learn how to learn and how to think. We learn the process of thinking, and understanding the fundamentals of logical deduction and proof is not only in the realm of mathematics but of life experience in general: law, philosophy, physics, consciousness; all require the same insight.
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Format: Hardcover
These three books are amazing. A deep, definitive coverage of the theoretical basis of computer science. In fact, to the extent that computer science is a science, you should refer to these books, if you are ever in doubt. As a measure of how well regarded these are, Knuth mentions in his home page that American Scientist magazine ranked this amongst the top 12 scientific monographs of the twentieth century, alongside books by Einstein, Dirac, Pauling and Feynman.
Much of computer programming and usage today builds upon the algorithms described in the books. What does it mean to have a "good" random number generator? What are quantitative tests for randomness? How can you efficiently sort a list? How do you find the greatest common factor of two (large) positive integers?
It is true that the typical computer programmer does not know most of the material in the books. This is because she usually can access subroutines that come with the language or are in standard libraries that implement the core algorithms. For example, in Java, there is a routine called Collections.sort(), which you call with the name of a list in the brackets, and the routine will sort it.
But within the field of computer programming, sometimes you may be called upon to implement those core algorithms. So what do you do? Turn here for help.
The books are also graced with a vital attribute. Each section of a chapter has a set of questions. Typically these are tough; they can keep you busy indeed. Plus, Knuth supplies the answers. The combination is a great learning experience. So often have I wondered at textbooks that don't supply questions. Students need hands on experience.
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Format: Hardcover
The three volumes of the original version of "The Art of Computer Programming" are more than thirty years old now. I still have the edition I bought back in 1978 or so and they're never too far from the "easy to reach shelf" in my bookshelves. Sometimes I rearrange things and move them away, always figuring that newer books will work as well, but somehow they always move back - not always quickly, but rarely too slowly.
Sometimes its because I just want to reread something, sometimes its because I want to challenge myself with one of the problems, but often enough it is because I find myself needing to supplement information from somewhere else or because I just can not find quite what I need anywhere else. And I will turn to the web to search for things - but first I usually check out TAOCP.
It can be tough going in some places, the math sometimes reaching the "AAArrrggghhhh, run away, run away" kind of appearance, but a bit of work almost invariably pays off.
This is not a book from which you will learn to program. You should have some facility with more than college freshman level mathematics. And you'll need to read things more than once in many cases.
If you're an IT person, a software installer type, a low level coder or the like and are content with this, you can probably afford to avoid ever reading TAOCP, but if you want to solve the hard problems, if you want to learn just WHY things work, and learn the mathematics and the kinds of analysis techniques that make the difference between the grunt programmer and the really good ones, you'll need the math, you'll need the kind of information, knowledge and computerology-goodness-and-niceness that TAOCP (and few books other than TAOCP) can give you.
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