Beginning Algorithmsby Simon Harris, James Ross
A good understanding of algorithms, and the knowledge of when to apply them, is crucial to producing software that not only works correctly, but also performs efficiently. This is the only book to impart all this essential information-from the basics of algorithms, data structures, and performance characteristics to the/b>/i>… See more details below
A good understanding of algorithms, and the knowledge of when to apply them, is crucial to producing software that not only works correctly, but also performs efficiently. This is the only book to impart all this essential information-from the basics of algorithms, data structures, and performance characteristics to the specific algorithms used in development and programming tasks.
Packed with detailed explanations and instructive examples, the book begins by offering you some fundamental data structures and then goes on to explain various sorting algorithms. You'll then learn efficient practices for storing and searching by way of hashing, trees, sets, and maps. The authors also share tips on optimization techniques and ways to avoid common performance pitfalls. In the end, you'll be prepared to build the algorithms and data structures most commonly encountered in day-to-day software development.
What you will learn from this book
- The basics of algorithms, such as iteration and recursion
- Elementary data structures such as lists, stacks, and queues
- Basic and advanced sorting algorithms including insertion sort, quicksort, and shell sort
- Advanced data structures such as binary trees, ternary trees, and heaps
- Algorithms for string searching, string matching, hashing, and computational geometry
- How to use test-driven development techniques to ensure your code works as intended
- How to dramatically improve the performance of your code with hands-on techniques for profiling and optimization
Who this book is for
This book is for anyone who develops applications, or is just beginning to do so, and is looking to understand algorithms and data structures. An understanding of computer programming is beneficial.
Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.
Meet the Author
Simon Harris started writing animated sprites on a Commodore 64 in primary school. After a break of many years, he taught himself 80x86 and IBM System/370 assembler and started working professionally. Since then he has moved from assembler to C, C++, and, of course, Java. He believes a fundamental understanding and appreciation of algorithms is essential to developing good software; and since starting his own company, RedHill Consulting, he has managed to make a living discussing and demonstrating software development practices and techniques to anyone who will listen.
In his more than 15 years of development experience, James Ross has ranged from building packaged products to large enterprise systems to research into compilers and languages. In recent years, he has become a code quality fanatic and agile methods specialist, particularly with test-driven development. He works as a consultant for ThoughtWorks, the world’s leading agile software development company. He is currently leading the development of a large J2EE project in the insurance industry in Melbourne, Australia. He lives with his wife and family in Melbourne.
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Neither the front or back cover says this, so I will. The source code examples in this book are all written in Java. I suspect the book is being a little coy about this because the authors want to maximise the potential audience. Fair enough. Of course, the text mentions Java immediately inside, but you have to actually open a physical copy, to see this. If you are already conversant in Java, that's great, because the book offers an indepth guide to several crucial classes. But what if you program in C++ or C#? In the Standard Template Library for C++ and in the default libraries for C#, you should be able to easily find the equivalent classes to those used in the text. Of course, you will then have to rewrite the examples that use those classes. Straightforward. None of the examples are long. And since this book is fundamentally about computations, and not about making a user interface, the syntax for using the system classes is roughly the same, across these languages. Also, some examples might use the object oriented property of extending a base class. As you can do this in C++ and C#, there is no problem here either. A problem might have arisen if the authors had used C++ with multiple inheritance, because Java and C# forbid this. But since they didn't, it's not an issue. As an OO language, Java is actually pretty minimal. The text covers the most common structures and methods for using those structures, that you are likely to need. Lists, stacks, iteration, recursion, queues, sorting, searching, hashing etc. Some of these subjects have immense depth. For example, sorting and searching takes up one volume of Knuth's 'Art of Computer Programming'. But that is a very advanced text, and ill suited to someone new to the basic algorithms. Harris and Ross give you enough complexity to be challenging and understandable. While perhaps giving some indications as to more intricate underlying issues. As alluded to above, if you proceed through the text, several important Java classes are used. Vector, List, Hashtable, HashSet and others. You would be well advised to gain fluency in these, as the book shows how they form the basis of much computational work. You also get an appreciation for the beauty of Java, inasmuch as it comes with those classes. While you could certainly write these from scratch, not having to do so is a huge timesaver. And by using the system classes, you are assured of very stable, highly debugged classes.