Customer Review

9 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous: doesn't deal with consequences of numerics in C., 8 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mastering Algorithms with C (Paperback)
I'm just going to comment on one chapter of the book: "Numerical Methods", the thirteenth.
Incredibly, Loudon presents a chapter on numerical methods without any discussion of the effects of the limitations imposed by the finite representation of numbers in C. No mention is made of the problems that occur when one tries to represent extremely large numbers or extemely small numbers (close to 0) in C, yet these are common situations when line gradients approach vertical or horizontal. Loudon presents C as though it was capable of representing numbers, when of course C is only capable of a very limited approximation to numbers.
Novices who enter the field of numerical methods without having been warned about the problem are going to risk producing very inaccurate results (and one presumes that some of the readers of this book may simply take the implementations of algorithmspresented and apply them to the field they work in, be it analysis of biological experiment results, or investment performance analysis.)
The best Loudon does is to mention "Error Approximation" in the "Related Topics" section at the end of the chapter -- but please note, Loudon is referring to the problems of approximation in the algorithm itself, not the additional problems caused by implementing the algorithm in C where numbers are not represented exactly.
In summary, the problem here is that Loudon has written a useful chapter about some algorithms used in numerical methods, yet has completely failed to deal with the consequences of the implementation of those algorithms in C (surely the point of such a book as this?)...This part of the book is, in my opinion, extremely dangerous to the user, and must be corrected in the next edition.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Jan 2013 12:38:49 GMT
C_Programmer says:
It is described as being "Written with the intermediate to advanced C programmer in mind" who should know the basics of programming such as this.
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