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10 March 2015 Reply
I just picked up a copy at Microcenter over the weekend. This is great!
Is it insulting or unfair to call this "Knuth for Dummies?" It's all so... accessible! It's already given me answers for problems I've been struggling with for months.
I even like the way it's typeset and bound; these things are not unimportant.
I don't know directly as I haven't read any of his works, but I somewhat dislike the "Dummies" series... seems awfully daft to me to call your customers idiots :) But it is a good book!
You are correct regarding the typesetting, I shall take a note of that for next next review.
Thanks for the comment!
21 March 2015 Reply
I have an aversion to the Dummies series as well, but it's just a name. There's another series "Idiot's Guide to..." on many subjects; I'm not musically inclined and the author of "Idiot's Guide to Music Theory" really brought everything "down" to my level. (I admit I was desperate to grasp certain musical topics!)
Donald Knuth is a computer scientist who has written a series called "The Art of Computer Programming," of which there are several volumes. Everything is broken down to essential maths, code examples are written in an assembly language for a theoretical processor, I/O is presented in the form of punch cards... and it's all still relevant... I'm just not literate enough to make sense of what I read. Some folks state things low-level and universal. Some folks state things high-level, colloquial and accessible; this is what I need :) Despite this, I pull Knuth's book off the shelf after I feel like I've learned something just to review that low-level, universal, mathematical perspective.
Another great example is Simon Peyton Jones' TED talk on the British education system's focus on teaching computer science to young children. They teach middle-schoolers the quicksort by acting it out as a group! Brilliant! Trying to learn that in Pascal in high-school was... difficult. There's nothing complicated about algorithms, I just had the wrong book.