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The Art of Computer Programming, Vol. 4A: Combinatorial Algorithms, Part 1 Hardcover – 12 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (12 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201038048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201038040
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 4.1 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About 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 (26 books, 161 papers). Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University, he currently devotes full time to the completion of his seminal multivolume series on classical computer science, begun in 1962 when he was a graduate student at California Institute of Technology. Professor Knuth is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the ACM Turing Award, the Medal of Science presented by President Carter, the AMS Steele Prize for expository writing, and, in November, 1996, the prestigious Kyoto Prize for advanced technology. He lives on the Stanford campus with his wife, Jill.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Skweek on 24 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought for mathematician/programmer husband who has the other volumes and has wanted this for years. He absolutely loves it and I can't get any sense out of him now, cos he's permanently got his nose stuck in it!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Pell on 24 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is 1 of my core Computing reference books - along with volumes 1 -3 and Fascicle 0 which introduces the latest MMIX instruction set. A must for any serious IT professional who wants to build a core reference library set.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
A gorgeous classic on Combinatorial thought 2 Feb. 2011
By Ed Pegg Jr - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Knuth has written many books considered classics. Some of the previous works have been set-up for where the real fun is - Combinatorics. In one of my own columns, I say "Never trust the brute-force power of a computer network to do the job of a combinatorialist." In 1967, John P. Robinson and Arthur J. Bernstein published an optimal Golomb ruler with 24 marks (OGR24). Their solution was confirmed in 2004 by a massive distributed effort using tens of thousand of computer years.

Knuth is attempting to discuss all the algorithms that will still be important 50 years from now. The amount of speed given using these algorithms is staggering.

Some examples topics in the book:
Page 222 - Algorithm S: Breadth-first synthesis of BDDs
Page 293 - Balanced and Complementary Gray codes.
Page 424 - Stirling numbers and set partitions.
Page 449 - Generating binary trees

Helpful mathematical illustrations feature prominently throughout the book, and pretty much every page is gorgeously formatted. Knuth developed TeX in part to produce beautiful books, and that is on display here.

Many thoughtful questions are provided as an aid to learning these very useful techniques. The Answers section runs for 303 pages.

It will take me months or years to digest most the information in this work, but I can't imagine a better presentation for this difficult but lucratively useful material.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2014 Fascicle Update... 9 Feb. 2014
By Let's Compare Options Preptorial - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Question: Now that this is out, are all the items in the first 5 (part 4, 0-4) fascicles covered, or do I need them too?

A careful reading and comparison of both shows that although most of the topics are covered in both, as this "IS" the final publication with corrections of the fascicles, the fascicles add important background as well as detail, whereas 4A is a MUST due to the incredible number of new problems and answers. As a compromise if you're on a budget, you could get 4A for all combinatorials, or, for example, get fascicle 0 if you're more into logic design, circuits, etc. rather than all combinatorics. Do NOT buy all 5 fascicles AND this book, or you'll be double paying. However, the fascicles, in the older form, are available as .pdfs free. THIS BOOK updates and corrects all of them, and is complete.

I can't give all the contents for thousands of pages here, but if you go to Dr. Knuth's website, there are uncorrected .pdf copies of the whole series, and an index of all past and future versions. Just Bing or Google the title with Volume 4A and choose the link that starts with cs dot utsa dot edu (Dr. Don's site). The links come back here to Amazon for purchase, but give full uncorrected .pdfs to save you money on the previous fascicles as you compare them to this newer 2011 volume. That will also let you see in detail which, if any, of the previous fascicles you really want combined with 4A. Realize, though, that Dr. Knuth has corrected MANY sections in this 2011 combinatorial text, so even if you like the .pdfs of the previous sicles, you'll clearly want 4A.

In fact, when you go to that site, there is even a "volume 5/part B" uncorrected fascicle available as an advance .pdf. The Stanford site even has a few more. It gives valuable math background on the coming new part 2 volumes (4B, 4C etc.) of combinatorics (click on "pre fascicle 5A"), namely many of the discrete probability spaces not covered in any of the previous volumes, yet much more important today than ever before. Disclaimed as a probably error copy for expert circulation pre publication, still, I'd take Knuth's errors over most expert's correct info!!! A great read to bring the current 2011 volume, as well as the original combinatorics volume (v 1 fascicle 1, 2/2005; p. 144), up to date on stochastics not covered until 2013.

With his usual humility, Knuth "apologizes" that he's only now getting around to as important a topic as probability in the intro to 4B-- basically apologizing for what NO ONE knew in the 60's! He even asks if some of his earlier "not yet solved" problems might actually be solved with newer stochastic algorithms. He posts these updates both on his site and in the latest fascicles, so readers can stay up to date even on the cutting edge research. What a sweet man! Needless to say, you'll love this volume along with the web content and augmenting fascicles.

Knuth, who is 76 at this writing, also disclaims that 4B, C, D etc. are health dependent. God bless and long life Doc.

UPDATE: Dr. Knuth emailed us with this update on both the fascicles and upcoming new features:

"...I can imagine that somebody would like to buy just
one of those five (...v4f0, v4f1, v4f2, v4f3, or v4f4), because
of special interest in (or maybe teaching a class about) just one
topic. Also, the stuff on pages 48--75 of v4f4 --- the
historical survey of combinatorial generation --- is the most
"reader friendly" part of the whole book, it can be appreciated
by non-specialists of many flavors; so as a small paperback it is
handier than the full 900-page book, in spite of some warts.

By the way, v1f1 is already out in eBook form, and we expect to have it
joined by Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4A before October. We have taken special
pains to provide optimum cross-references (hyperlinks) within these
electronic versions, and to make searches work well (although some of the
current reader-apps aren't real fast when searching in a 900-page eBook)."
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
It was a long wait... 3 Mar. 2011
By Scott in LA - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over 30 years, whew! I'm very pleased to be able to add this volume to the other three (I've had to replace volumes 1 and 3 because I wore out my first copies). And, I'm very glad I don't have to complete a graduate course that would use this volume as a text, I'm not sure I'd have the stamina to make it though. Thank you, Dr. Knuth, for your guidance and challenges. They certainly made a significant difference in the success of my career. I'm sure that those of you who delve into this volume will be enlightened by it as well. I'm not qualified to technically critique or perhaps even understand a lot of the material in this book, but at least I'll have the rest of my life to try. Now, doesn't he still owe us one more?
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
No review needed 5 Mar. 2012
By Allyn Rothman - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone who has the first three volumes of "The Art of Computer Programming", a review of the fourth is completely unnecessary. If you don't yet own the first three, buy the whole set of four at a significant discount. More than half of the 900 pages is "Answers to Exercises", whose coverage of the topic is encyclopedic. If you want to know what Dr. Knuth has been doing the last 30 years, here is the answer. What is amazing is that this volume, number 4A, is evidently a prelude for more to come.
Knuth -- He's the Man 27 Aug. 2014
By Clyde LeBonz - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Knuth. What more is there to say? Bought the first edition of Volume 1 back in 1970 and have dived sporadically into his work ever since, whenever I needed a better sort or randomization algorithm.

Just having Knuth on my bookshelf makes me feel a whole lot smarter.
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