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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful reference but the coding is reprehenisble
Whilst the mathematics behind the book is undoubtedly useful, it is vitally important to understand the maths before using the methods presented in the text. An invaluable tool in the hands of the right people, and a weapon fatal to good science in the hands of the wrong people. Still, the text is suffiently advanced in its coverage to prevent most of the truely dangerous...
Published on 12 Jan 2001

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The maths are OK but the code stinks
This book provides a broad coverage of numerical methods to solve a similarly broad spectrum of real world problems. The anlysis is not deep, but concentrates on matching problems to potential solutions. My main criticism of the mathematical side is that it seldom covers the criteria that make some numerical methods inappropriate in certain situations.
The major...
Published on 26 Jun 2000


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The maths are OK but the code stinks, 26 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
This book provides a broad coverage of numerical methods to solve a similarly broad spectrum of real world problems. The anlysis is not deep, but concentrates on matching problems to potential solutions. My main criticism of the mathematical side is that it seldom covers the criteria that make some numerical methods inappropriate in certain situations.
The major flaw in the book is the C code. It is woeful. The authors are, quite clearly, not C programmers at all. In fact, it looks like they are FORTRAN programmers who still cling to good old FORTRAN IV. When this FORTRAN coding style is allowed to be expressed in the freewheeling grammar of C the results prove to be monstrous.
I would recommend that C programmers buy Numerical Recipes in FORTRAN and do their own translations into C. Those transalations could not be any worse than the code in this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful reference but the coding is reprehenisble, 12 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
Whilst the mathematics behind the book is undoubtedly useful, it is vitally important to understand the maths before using the methods presented in the text. An invaluable tool in the hands of the right people, and a weapon fatal to good science in the hands of the wrong people. Still, the text is suffiently advanced in its coverage to prevent most of the truely dangerous from using it.
Additionally, it is a shame that the authors/publishers did not see fit to have the code written by someone with real skill in this area. The code samples within the text are unfortunately typical of scientists who learned a little of programming techniques, probably in the 1970s and early 1980s, and have not really upgraded their understanding since. Whilst the code is functional and does the minimum required of it, it sends shivers down the spine of those more used to modern code practices.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable, 14 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
Every chapter is a concise, readable and informative introduction to, and overview of, a field of numerical computing. If you need to use numerical methods, without being an expert on them, 'Numerical Recipes' acts as an unusually helpful tutor. The concepts are well explained in a way that makes clear the motivation, the strengths and the potential weaknesses of each method. It helps that the authors offer opinions and experience as well as mathematics. The structure of the book is good - it is easy to find the chapter you want, and easy to read each chapter, or section, without having to cross-reference other sections (I hate it when textbooks do that). I often read this book to choose my method, then use another subroutine library for implementation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable resource for scietists, 28 May 2007
By 
T. Kaneko (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
Whether it's numerical algorithms or statistics, this book has most of them that I've needed to use in my work. Some of the comments by other reviewers are fair. Yes, the code is slow and a bit ugly. But for me, this book's merit is in presenting the theory behind the algorithms, whether it's 2-dimensional FFT or chi-square fit. Don't use the code. It's slow and inaccurate. Mike Hobson (also author of "Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering") recommended GAMS or Netlib off the web or LAPACK and I agree. But you have to know the theory (and which algorithm to use) first and that's what this book is great for.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but lacking in substance, 11 Feb 2007
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
Some years ago when I was looking for computer codes to solve a system of linear algebraic equations, I thought "Numerical Recipes" was good. I got the codes I wanted. I was quite impressed. However, as more years went by, my research work encountered more "difficult" systems (such as those ill-conditioned ones) which stressed the codes to the limit. I started to pore over the details in the book. That was when I discovered that the book lacks substance. I found that the techniques suggested for treating the "difficult systems" more than often do not work and are sometimes described using rather tentative language. I would liken the book to a recipe for fast food, like instant noodle perhaps, but not to nutritious home cooked meals. If you are hungry and need something fast, maybe go for it. Otherwise, if you need something more substantial, look elsewhere for a smaller but well written book covering the relevant area.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books, 15 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
I always enjoy browsing through this book. It has a wonderful combination of mathematical theory and sound practical implementation. The algorithms consistently surprise me with their elegance and simplicity, while the theory is clear and well-explained.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Recipes for mediocrity., 16 April 2000
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
Few books have harmed the practice of science as much as Numerical Recipes. The chapters on statistics, data analysis and signal treatment are unbelievably wrong and misleading. At least the title of the book is not misleading: the authors are selling mere recipes and this is exactly what you get. A few years ago at an applied statistics conference, there was an extemporaneous debate over Numerical Recipes. On one hand, statisticians and numerical analysts were saying that the book is terrible, that it should be burned and that scientists were behaving irresponsibly by allowing their graduate students to use it as a reference. On the other hand, a group of scientists agreed that the level of the book is way too bad to be used as a serious reference but that few of their graduate students ever succeeded in mastering its content in the first place! So that was it. The book is not good enough to help scientists do sound research but we would be glad if scientists could only reach that level in the first place.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for all scientific programming, 14 Dec 1999
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
I found this an excellent book for finding code for performing specific mathematics. As well as this it made an interesting read for general interest. During my 3rd year University project this was an absolutely vital text to have.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thanks for the link to the online version of the book, 24 May 1999
By A Customer
I have now obtained the link to the online version of this book. I thank all those who kindly responded to my request! philip.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undeniably enthralling. A must buy., 16 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Numerical Recipes in C book set: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing (Hardcover)
This book is my `bible' of C. I especially recommend the section on `insertion tecniques' (referring to sorting algorithms). I sleep with it under my pillow. Highly recommended, especially at this giveaway price.
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