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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 22 May 2002
By 
G. Avvinti (Sicily, Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Introduction to the Theory of Computation (Hardcover)
Michael Sipser has an undoubted gift for writing on this subject. The book is a coincise and easy read. But be cautious, this doesn't mean superficial and poor. The book contains all the material needed for a good course on Theory of Computation and Complexity. Perhaps it has not plenty of details like other books as Hopcroft & Ullman or Kozen or Papadimitrou, but don't underestimate the vastity of the treated topics, what is important is that every time you finish a chapter, you have the sensation that you've learned what you should have to. And probably you did due to Sipser's writing style, provided that you can afford to skip "some" more detailed/advanced topics. Or you might just be looking for some further stuff like Myhill-Nerode or Rabin-Shepherdson theorems or Chomsky Hierarchy for example, and you would have to look elsewhere for them. However, I've never been told that the best book is the most complete one. As long as I've learned, the best book is the one that best fits your needs, and that fitting these needs it suceeds to transmit the knowledge you're looking for in an effective way. That's why if this stuff is not required by your course, you would be perfectly fine with this book in your hands.
Proofs on theorems are given virtually always in two steps: first you're presented with the idea that lies behind the proof, and then you get the proof itself in a more rigorous fashion. Again, Sipser strikes here because it's harder NOT to understand one of his proofs than the contrary simply because the presentation is always clear and understandable.
As a matter of fact, Sipser (as he point out in the preface) almost always avoid to overload proofs given by construction with more rigorous following proofs (e.g. induction on the constructed machine to prove its equivalence with ...). This has a strong impact on the attention you can keep when studying throghout a chapter: avoiding to dive into tedious details when the proof (by construction) has been clear enough help to keep you attention high and boredom away. This is a way of learning, an effective way.
Sipser uses sometime a notation that's different from the somewhat standard one (e.g. the description of delta or transition function on various machines), but it is coherent throughout the whole book, and that's what does count, together with the note that this notation is noway more complex or hard to understand than the "standard" one.
Should I name two books on Theory of Computation (not Complexity), one just a little less rigorous and one just a little more rigorous than this, I would suggest Coehn's "Introduction to computer Theory" and Kozen's "Automata and Computability" respectively.
My conclusion is that this is a great book, worth the price (especially if confronted with others ...) and a stable place in my bookshelf.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!!, 17 Jan 2004
By 
Mark (Carmarthen, Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Introduction to the Theory of Computation (Hardcover)
This Computer Science book is, as my review title says, EXCELLENT!! The book looks at the mathematical theory of Computation and explains each and every concept using clear and concise notes, while throwing in examples whenever possible. I strongly recommend this book to students who are studying Computer Science at University (BSc, HND or Postgraduate) level, and to other professionals in the field of Computer Science. This book, in my opinion, is not suitable for students studying A-Level Computer Science as it does into very great detail on mathematical concepts which are mainly covered in University and not in the Sixth Form. I used this book to revise for my Computer Science BSc Introduction to the Theory of Computation examination, and I believe that it has helped me a great deal. All in all, a very worth while read for people who are interested in this area of technology.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introductory book covering some advanced topics, 24 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Introduction to the Theory of Computation (Hardcover)
This book gives an excellent introduction to complexity, computability and finite automata, while also containing some details of more advanced topics in the field. It's an excellent book if you're not too confident in your maths, as it uses "Proof Sketches" to intuitively explain the reasoning behind the more rigorous mathematical proofs which follow. However, those with a stronger mathematical bent will be left mourning the occasional absence of rigorous proofs in the more advanced sections.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed book, 15 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Introduction to the Theory of Computation (Hardcover)
The book showed proofs in an easy to understand manner. I had enjoyed reading it as it made more sense to me if I am not following in lecture.
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Introduction to the Theory of Computation
Introduction to the Theory of Computation by Michael Sipser (Hardcover - 12 Jan 1997)
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