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Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) [Paperback]

Harold Abelson
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Aug 1996 0262510871 978-0262510875 2nd Edition
This edition available only OUTSIDE the U.S. and Canada

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Product details

  • Paperback: 684 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; 2nd Edition edition (6 Aug 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262510871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262510875
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Book Description

With an analytical and rigorous approach to problem solving and programming techniques, this book is oriented toward engineering. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs emphasizes the central role played by different approaches to dealing with time in computational models. Its unique approach makes it appropriate for an introduction to computer science courses, as well as programming languages and program design. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Harold Abelson is Class of 1992 Professor and MacVicar Teaching Fellow, and Gerald Jay Sussman is Matsushita Professor of Electrical Engineering, both in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They have each received major computer science education awards: Abelson the IEEE Computer Society Booth Award and Sussman the ACM Karlstrom Award. Julie Sussman is a writer and editor, in both natural and computer languages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Being a Freshman at MIT and having to use SICP as the textbook for my Intro to Comp. Sci. class, I have a passing urge to really slander this book. It is certainly very rigorous reading, with concepts and examples presented in the manner of a a gushing fire hydrant. From the opening concepts of abstraction and compound procedures, SICP builds at a blazing pace, covering much more than just the basic material one would expect from a first-semester Comp. Sci. class, including topics which ought to be tucked away in later courses such as streams, register machine code, and compilation. However, the rewards of keeping up with the pace of SICP are tremendous, as the reader will undoubtedly have gotten quite a firm grasp of computer science and its challenges (Abelson and Sussman have included some of the on-going research topics of Comp. Sci. in SICP as exercises). SICP is a treausre of knowledge waiting to reward those willing to suffer in reaching it. I have personally both suffered and been rewarded. And if I ever get thirsty now, I have learned the art of drinking out of a spewing fire hydrant.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is a book that will change your perception of how to program, and what a program is really doing. It can't be read casually because it is important to think carefully about what the authors are saying.
The book illustrates how programming can be raised from writing a series of instructions minutely detailing how to do a task, to the higher level of simply specifying what should be done.
If you look at the other reviews, you will see that this book receives either 5 stars, or just 1. I would suggest that if you understand what this book is about, then you will also give it a 5 star rating.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a good introduction to programming 3 May 2000
By A Customer
I am sure this book made excellent reading for any student taking Computer Science. But as I am studying on my own, I too find this book the best on the market. The exercises, the examples are all very rich and get to the point quickly. The book is very well supported by its website. The presentation is very fluent, clarity is its best feature. I feel I can finally learn the basics without being drown into lots of particularisations. This book feels more like the algebra of programming as opposed to many other programming books I've read which mainly give 'numerical examples', to keep the analogy. If basic maths (A level maths should be enough) is something you don't have much in common with than you may find this book hard to follow. Maybe a different approach may be of more use to you. But if like me you had a more consistent mathematical background, than this book is exactly what you need to get you into programming with no waste of time and effort.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
SICP (a common code name for this book, along with the "Wizard Book", and sometimes the "Purple Book"), is a true classic of computer science. Note this is a Computer Science book, in fact it is a book about Computer Science, it is not a book about computing.

As the title suggests, but appears to be ignored by many reviewers, this is a book about the structure and interpretation of computer programs; it is not a book that teaches you how to write computer programs. However, if you are interested in the grandest and deepest ideas around the structure of computer programs then this book is superb. The ideas initially presented are clear and appear to be simple, but the text then leads you into considering the very deep and fascinating issues relating to the different styles of programming presented.

I first read this book twenty years ago, and even the thought of the adventures of "A. Hacker" and friends still makes me smile.

A master piece. This is a book that is meant to be enjoyed; it is not a book that shows you how to do things; it is a book that presents you questions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Focus is on the art of programming 30 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Unfortunately, most of the computer books that I read focus on cookie cutter solutions to problems. As a professional software engineer, I dont just want "howtos" for a small collection of problems. SICP goes a long way to expanding your capacity to solve problems in a timely fashion. Be prepared to work! This book is very knowledge dense, and each exercise pays large dividends for the time invested. From a programmers point of view, you will fall in love with scheme very quickly. Keep in mind this book is about the larger art of programming and not just scheme. It just happens to be a powerful language for expression of high level abstractions and ideas. If you are tired of books that teach syntax and simple solutions, and you are ready for the next level in skill development, read SICP and do the exercises. It will become one of the most rewarding experiences of your software carreer.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This isn't for kiddies looking for an easy ride 28 July 1999
By A Customer
I first encountered SICP (1st edition) as a computer science student in the mid 80's. I would consider this book to be the single most significant influence on my development as a programmer, even though I never used it in a course. This is one of the few programming texts out there that attempts to go to the roots of computer science. Yes, the examples are difficult to work out, but they're worth it. If you are looking for any easy "A" in your CS class, then avoid this book. If you are interested in programming as an actual intellectual discipline, as opposed to something you just hack until it compiles, then check out SICP.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars How I should have learned to program
After years of imperative programming in C, this book is mind-opening. The large lambda emblazoned on the cover should be an indication that this book is focused on understanding... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ptolom
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening book
Great book to read for someone from an imperative background (like me). I believe it's 100% relevant today. Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2009 by B. Fitzgerald
4.0 out of 5 stars Old school, hardcore computer science
I would hate to see the code from the reviewer who thinks recursion is no longer a valid topic for computer programming. Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2006 by Mr. Keith Sterling
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginnners!
I am doing a first year Computer Science degree.. This books is always recommended as being the best not only to learn scheme but also to program for beginners. Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2006 by Asha Jethani
3.0 out of 5 stars Try before buying
I haven't read the book and find it hard to know what it's all about because the reviews are so polarized. But I've learned that the book is used in an MIT course called 6.001. Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Long winded and irrelevant.
Fails to explain simple concepts simply. Lingers over concepts that are not that useful in the real world (recursion, lazy evaluation). Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars This isn't a fun read
Besides the heavy and dull material (which may not be that bad at all) this book has an unfriendly style, as if the authors are trying to elevate themselves above the crowd,... Read more
Published on 8 Aug 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for everyone
SICP is a book not only teach beginning programming, but to show experienced programmers that there are always "other ways to do things. Read more
Published on 26 July 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars crap
Buying this book was a big mistake on my part. I read some positive reviews here and hoped maybe to give the title a try, see what the excitement is all about. Read more
Published on 24 July 1999
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