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Numerical Recipes 3rd Edition: The Art of Scientific Computing Hardcover – Sep 10 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1256 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 3 edition (Sept. 10 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521880688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521880688
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 4.5 x 25.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #61,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"This monumental and classic work is beautifully produced and of literary as well as mathematical quality. It is an essential component of any serious scientific or engineering library."
Computing Reviews

"... an instant 'classic,' a book that should be purchased and read by anyone who uses numerical methods ..."
American Journal of Physics

"... replete with the standard spectrum of mathematically pretreated and coded/numerical routines for linear equations, matrices and arrays, curves, splines, polynomials, functions, roots, series, integrals, eigenvectors, FFT and other transforms, distributions, statistics, and on to ODE's and PDE's ... delightful."
Physics in Canada

"... if you were to have only a single book on numerical methods, this is the one I would recommend."
EEE Computational Science & Engineering

"This encyclopedic book should be read (or at least owned) not only by those who must roll their own numerical methods, but by all who must use prepackaged programs."
New Scientist

"These books are a must for anyone doing scientific computing."
Journal of the American Chemical Society

"The authors are to be congratulated for providing the scientific community with a valuable resource."
The Scientist

"I think this is an incredibly valuable book for both learning and reference and I recommend it for any scientists or student in a numerate discipline who need to understand and/or program numerical algorithms."
International Association for Pattern Recognition

"The attractive style of the text and the availability of the codes ensured the popularity of the previous editions and also recommended this recent volume to different categories of readers, more or less experienced in numerical computation."
Octavian Pastravanu, Zentralblatt MATH

Book Description

The third edition of Numerical Recipes has wider coverage than ever before. New chapters cover classification and inference and computational geometry; new sections include MCMC, interior point methods, and an updated, expanded treatment of ODEs, all with completely new routines in C++. For more information, or to buy the book, visit For support, or to subscribe to an online version, please visit

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was first brought to my attention when the second edition in Fortran was published. I had just made a lateral move from civil engineering to geophysics and many more uses of numerical methods became important to my programming work. I found the Chapter on 2-D FFT methods very helpful, as well as the section on interpolation and least-squares fitting.

Later, I put together an application involving Delaunay Triangulation of many thousands of vertices, requiring a fast algorithm. For that, I turned to Knuth's Axioms and Hulls paper and subsequent book The Stanford Graphbase. I was very pleased to see that Chapter 21 on Computational Geometry includes a section on Delaunay Triangles and other useful routines.

I must admit that I was surprised to find that their code did not include data structures from the C++ Standard Template Library. Having made extensive use of STL methods in several projects of late, I was initially annoyed that a *certain* academic streak of stubbornness might have crept in. Afterall, why not take advantage of the fact that well-written and highly reuseable templates for commonly used data structures are available to all ANSI- and ISO-compliant C++ compiler users. Well, after reading the Preface and Chapter 1 it became clear that many of the numerical algorithms covered in the book do not require classes with the depth and complexity that are available in the STL. This was hard to swallow at first, but their use of smaller and more efficient structures with their own methods actually simplifies the code.

This is the essence of well crafted numerical techniques: keep things simple, keep things efficient, keep things flexible, and know the limits of each algorithm you implement. This is more than just an updated edition using the C++ language but also a very nice lesson in object-oriented techniques for serious number crunching programmers.
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By Mike on April 20 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
everything good, the code is not really very good though, there are some exisiting code/library online which written better than this book, but concepts are good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3d87858) out of 5 stars 26 reviews
71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5eeb3a8) out of 5 stars Valuable book, but not worth an upgrade June 28 2008
By K. Dixon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Bottom line up front: Every computational scientist should own a copy of Numerical Recipes but, if you already own a previous version, then don't bother upgrading.

I already owned a copy of "Numerical Recipes in C, 2nd Edition" (from 1992), so I was absolutely thrilled when I saw that the book had been updated in over 15 years. This is why I was so underwhelmed with the 3rd edition. As a previous reviewer noted, the vast majority of the book is largely unchanged.

As in previous editions, the authors do a great job of providing codes that cover the spectrum of topics encountered by researchers. As in previous editions, the authors still take the "give a man a fish" instead of the "teach a man to fish" method. This might seem like a negative but, in my opinion, this is why every scientist should own a copy of Numerical Recipes. Often, topics pop up that need immediate solving and one can often find a code for the topic in Numerical Recipes. As in previous editions, Numerical Recipes is really just an annotated code repository, with very stringent/restrictive licensing rules by the way!

However, as the authors note in the introduction, they made a conscious decision to fill pages with verbatim codes, not building insight into various topics. In my experience, the codes given in Numerical Recipes get the job done, but these tend to be simple and less efficient than other well-known algorithms.

As in previous editions, Numerical Recipes is a terrible pedagogical text. If you're interesting in understanding a particular topic, then get a special-purpose book.
138 of 147 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5eeb3fc) out of 5 stars A licensing disaster Dec 1 2009
By Ken Williams - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is basically an annotated code repository of solutions to specific algorithmic problems, and the algorithms are good. However, if you want to *use* these solutions in your products, forget it. You'll need to pay (thousands of dollars per year, potentially) for the privilege of an institutional license, and even then you can't incorporate any of the algorithms into a commercial software product. The code is therefore useless. Worse than useless, actually, because if a company owns the book and then uses an algorithm contained in it - even if derived from a different source - it runs the risk of getting sued for licensing violations because they've seen the book. No thanks.


If the authors went with some kind of traditional open-source license instead, that would be terrific. Right now, it looks like financial greed has gotten in the way of the dissemination of good ideas.
154 of 166 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5eeb834) out of 5 stars Copyright Idiocy! March 26 2010
By David Bruce - Published on
Format: Hardcover
People, stop buying and using this book! The copyright is prohibitive. It is not that they are greedy and want to make money from it. They won't sell you the rights to use any of these algorithms in commercial products, period. They are just stupid.

And don't give your code to a friend or coworker. You just violated the copyright.

Several coworkers have given me simulations with NR code buried in it. I can't use them. It is ILLEGAL!

Stop! Stop! Stop!

Use the GNU Scientific Library. It is free. And legal! And there is a free book on it. Use anything but NR.
97 of 111 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5eebbf4) out of 5 stars Essential book on scientific computing Sept. 28 2007
By calvinnme - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Fifteen years after its previous edition, this peerless book on scientific computing has been upgraded with some very welcome changes. Not only have some advances in scientific computing been incorporated, the explanations are even clearer and more detailed than before. More importantly, the code has been reworked so that it is better than it was in the previous edition. I don't agree with the other reviewer that "it is getting worse". However, it still does seem like C++ code that was written by a Fortran programmer who just doesn't want to let go of the past, although I'd have to say that the code has broken away from the Fortran-like structure of previous editions to some degree. If you do scientific computing at all, this new edition is a must have. Below I detail what is different in this new third edition versus the previous 1992 edition. There are a very few sections that were deleted. I don't mention them. Instead I list any sections or chapters that have been added.

1. Preliminaries
Completely reorganized to reflect the book.

2.Solution of Linear Algebraic Equations

3. Interpolation and Extrapolation
3.7 Interpolation on a Scattered Data in Multidimensions
3.8 Laplace Interpolation

4. Integration of Functions
4.5 Quadrature by Variable Transformation
4.8 Adaptive Quadrature

5. Evaluation of Functions

6. Special Functions
6.10 Generalized Fermi-Dirac Integrals
6.11 Inverse of the Function xlog(x)
6.14 Statistical Functions

7. Random Numbers
7.2 Completely Hashing a Large Array
7.3 Deviates from Other Distributions
7.4 Multivariate Normal Deviates
7.5 Linear Feedback Shift Registers
7.6 Hash Tables and Hash Memories

8. Sorting

9. Root Finding and Nonlinear Sets of Equations

10. Minimization or Maximization of Functions
10.1 Initially Bracketing a Minimum
10.6 Line Methods in Multidimensions
10.11 Linear Programming: Interior-Point Methods
10.13 Dynamic Programming

11. Eigensystems
11.2 Real Symmetric Matrices
11.6 Real Nonsymmetric Matrices

12. Fast Fourier Transform

13. Fourier and Spectral Applications

14. Statistical Description of Data
14.7 Information-Theoretic Properties of Distributions

15. Modeling of Data
15.8 Markov Chain Monte Carlo
15.9 Gaussian Process Regression

16. Classification and Inference (NEW CHAPTER)

17. Integration of Ordinary Differential Equations
17.7 Stochastic Simulation of Chemical Reaction Networks

18. Two-Point Boundary Value Problems

19. Integral Equations and Inverse Theory

20. Partial Differential Equations
20.7 Spectral Methods

21. Computational Geometry (NEW CHAPTER)

22. Less-Numerical Algorithms
22.1 Plotting Simple Graphs
91 of 104 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5eebcd8) out of 5 stars Contents improved, but codes not Sept. 27 2007
By Jacky - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'm a fan of this book since I've been using this book for a very long time. I pre-ordered the new version and got it a week ago. I think the contents are improved after I had a look at it. I'm pretty happy about that. However, the quality of the source codes, well, I have to say it is getting worse. As you may notice, authors of N.R. put a stringent license on usage of their codes, which is fine since these codes are their intellectual properties. But since they are selling their codes, they are supposed to hire some professional programmers to design a beatiful architecture, a nice data structure, and an easy-to-use interface, and implement all the algorithms with efficiency. As I can tell, C++ is abused in the 3rd version in a very bad way. I've been developing scientific computing software using C/C++ over 10 years, and I have to say the authors of the codes organized their work in a weird way. In the previous version of their codes in C++, global variables are still defined and used at so many places. Any professional programmer knows how bad such a programming style is. In this version, instead of wrapping their routines in classes, they simply use "struct" to hold global variables, does this delight you? This is just an example which upsets me. The only good thing is that they finally learned to use template...