Pearls of Functional Algorithm Design Hardcover – Aug 3 2015
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"Though the writing is crisp, and the explanations lucid, this is not an easy book to read. The difficulty lies in the density of ideas presented. The rewards of persevering are definitely worth it, though. In fact, once immersed, I started to ponder where this material would lead to: which algorithms could be even further generalized, what would many of these algorithms look like if implemented in Coq or Agda, and so forth. This is the effect that all good books have on me: well-presented and well-motivated material strives to become a stepping stone to further discovery. Any serious computer scientist would benefit from reading and properly understanding this book.
Jacques Carette, Computing Reviews
Richard Bird takes a radical approach to algorithm design, namely, design by calculation. This unique collection of 30 programming problems draws from various sources including games and puzzles, sorting, and problems in data compression.See all Product Description
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One quibble: the reader, to follow the arguments, will want to write the short code selections for himself, to check Bird's arguments; he'll find himself having to define a number of Unicode mathematical operators, like
U-2209, for example. But this isn't hard to do, in Haskell.
Each chapter is well-written, to the point, and closely argued. In showing the beauty of Haskell in a clear way, or showing the beauty of concrete maths in a clear way, Bird has done well.
The lack of algorithmic or higher order theme of this book did bug me. And I would have been tempted to count this against it. Yet not long after having read much of this book, I was working with a list that I knew would no scale, hesitating to refactor it, I was happy leave it unchanged, feeling confident that I would be able to deal with it later. Part of that confidence was supported by the knowledge that that type of transformation is what this book does successfully, chapter after chapter.
Haskell is a perfect choice of language. However, I don't think this book is just for Haskell programmers. Some of most intriguing problems are covered in very good structure. My favorites are the coverage of saddleback search, last tail, raking suffixes and nexuses. All others topics are really well done, but these were the topics that I had hard time googling for a good explanation. Great work.