The Art of Computer Programming Volumes 1-3 Boxed Set / Edition 3

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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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Editorial Reviews

Knuth is eminent for his pioneering work on algorithms and programming techniques, for his invention of TEX and METAFONT systems for computer typesetting, and for his prolific and influential writing. This volume, revised from its 1980 version and the second of what will be a seven-volume work, offers a complete introduction to the field of seminumerical algorithms, with separate chapters on random numbers and arithmetic. Summarizing the major paradigms and basic theory of such algorithms, it provides a comprehensive interface between computer programming and numerical analysis. Noteworthy in this edition is Knuth's new treatment of random number generators, and his discussion of calculations with formal power series. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
This last volume in a set of three surveys classical computer techniques for sorting and searching, considering both large and small databases and internal and external memories. Recently updated to reflect new developments in the field, the volume also contains several hundred new exercises. This new edition of Volume Three is described as matching Volume One (3rd edition) covering fundamental algorithms and Volume Two (3rd edition) treating seminumerical algorithms. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201485417
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 5.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald E. Knuth is known throughout the world for his pioneering work on algorithms and programming techniques, for his invention of the Tex and Metafont systems for computer typesetting, and for his prolific and influential writing. Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University, he currently devotes full time to the completion of these fascicles and the seven volumes to which they belong.

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Customer Reviews

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( 10 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2008

    Fantastic books

    Unfortunately, I find I struggle with the mathematics more than I would like. Nevertheless, the effort you spend on these is rewarded. Be warned that this is definitely computer science material, and not a quickstart guide to your favorite programming language.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2002

    The Best Algorithm Books in Computer Science

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2002

    Information Technology Bible

    This is not a set for programmers-coders. This is a bible for Information Technology professionals with more scientific approach to matters. If you want to know what's really computer science basics about then read this whole set of books. If you prefer reading Java or Visual Basic books may be you need to mature to read this set from Knuth. This is a basic set of books for many Universities around the world. It has been for many years. If you are asked an interview question that is not some specific pattern related and coming from popular applications, but you get a question about efficiency and applicability of some sorting algorithm then they test you for your real knowledge of Computer Science - not what Java or .NET training you have had. Open your mind and read it if you did not graduate with MSCS yet. You will not regret, but some math can be difficult to some people without background.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    Okay, but not the best...

    This box set is very good for beginners. I recommend Schidlowsky and Sedgewick's 'Algorithms in Java' for a riotously good time. Plus, it¿s much cheaper!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2001

    The Bible of Computer Science

    Knuth gives an in-depth analysis of almost everything related to algorithms. There are mathematics in the book, but the casual reader can skip them and believe the author´s claims as justified in plain English, while the more theorical reader will understand better by following the rigorous proofs. Competent programmers who want to become masters should read this book; computer scientist must read this book, and anyone with a serious interest in the foundations of computer algorithms and programming can not find a more complete, entertaining and lasting reference. One word of warning: programming novices should wait -this book can be overkill, and it won´t help with everyday problems, nor teach you how to program. Also, if you just want to know the best algorithm for solving a given problem, or the latest trick in programming, you should read a more specific book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2000

    Wonderful backgrounder! :)

    This set of books is indispensable if you want to aspire to more than just writing Visual Basic programs. Browse through once in a while to pick up new tricks: new algorithms, new data structures - sometimes how just using a different number representation can make the difference between failure and success.

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