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on 2 October 2002
It's amazing how much this book manages to pack into its three-hundred-odd pages, yet it is definitely showing its age.
Most of the 'real world' examples - systems "capable of between one and ten million operations per second" and their software - date to the late 1970s or early 1980s. Digital logic is covered and a simple microprogrammed CPU is worked through as a (good) example but it neglects the fact that, in the last fifteen years, CPU architectures have moved completely away from microcode, passing through RISC and onwards to VLIW. There is obviously no mention of the modern internet as the book pre-dates the WWW. GUIs - or, in fact, any user interfaces less complex than SQL - are another notable omission.
The fundamentals of algorithms and CS are, of course, timeless and this book is an average - though highly compact - introduction to the subject. For those with more time available, I'd recommend 'Foundations of Computer Science' by Aho/Ullman and Knuth's 'The Art of Computer Programming' contains far more detailed coverage of algorithms. Of course, no matter what you choose, this book will still be required reading for the CompSci course at Cambridge...
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on 26 August 1999
A clear introduction to Computer Science. It's required reading for "Comp Sci" at Cambridge University, so it can't be bad!
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