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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2012
Being a System Architect, understanding computer programming on a complex level is essential to my job. However, I waited 10 years to purchase this boxed set, and finally decided to treat myself as I felt I was at a point in my career where they would prove useful. So I ordered on Amazon and a few days later a large box arrived with TAOCP, each book bound beautifully with a beautiful cover. Clearly books made to be loved and adored.

After reading (or trying to read) the first few pages I slammed the book shut with a bitter look on my face, realising I was out of my depth with the complex algebra used to describe Knuth's algorithms.

So I brought a book to teach myself Algebra to teach myself the basics, and then went back to starting TAOCP, except this time his algorithms made sense and I discovered a new joy in the beauty of this magic set of books. So now several times a week I sit down with TAOCP and curl up on the sofa with a smile as I read through these jewels of wisdoms.
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on 12 January 2013
You'll need to know your discrete mathematics for these books, but the depth and detail of coverage of the topics is unsurpassed. This is no book of algorithmic recipes, but presents an unparalleled range of algorithms for various common tasks. Your understanding of the problem you want to solve will be stretched. You'll have to consider aspects of the problem you never even thought of. But your understanding of algorithms will be deeper, better and broader than you had thought possible. If you're willing to make an effort to understand problems, this book will reward you. And you'll love it.
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on 27 May 2014
Bought really as a must have reference work. Interesting but rather too detailed and old fashioned and arcane in parts. Very wide coverage of many programming algorithms across the 4 volumes.

Not really good for producing working code. Far better books available for practical use and learning programming techniques.
Useful for historic reference but not great for learning from. You need to know most of it anyway before it makes sense.
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on 27 April 2016
Frankly, I am unworthy of reviewing this book, and so are most people on the planet. Donald E. Knuth is the king of algorithms and their analysis, the Aristotle of computer science. When he was a graduate student, he was asked to write a compiler construction text book, and here we are decades later and Prof. Knuth is still working on the book, volume 4B out of 7 total. Mind you volume 7 is the book he was originally commissioned to write, and it will probably never happen. To me, Volume 1 and 3 have been extremely valuable in my career, and the whole set is an inspiration for scientists in that defines the upper limit of what can be achieved in one lifetime, and to me it is existential proof of perfectionism and dedication to work.

If you only ever buy two books to study computer science, buy Knuth's "The Art of Computer Programming" and Abelson & Sussman's Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs; if you work your way through just the first volume of the former OR the latter, you will probably be a better computer scientist than most. Thank you, Donald Knuth, for giving us these volumes!
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on 12 January 2015
A fantastic compendium of computer science knowledge. Volume 1. gives a nice review of the necessary mathematics for working through this series, although I can highly recommend Knuth's Concrete Mathematics text for the dedicated reader.
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on 14 September 2014
Love these Reference Books,
I doubt if I will ever read them from page to page, to be honest understanding the 'hard bits' is a challenge!
However I just love to tackle an algorithm, work out on paper what it does and apply it in practice. I just feel that more knowledgeable and these books have a lot of Algorithms to work on in Computing -
It keeps the "mind" young.
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on 5 July 2013
I thought I'd already written a review of these books, but the button came up while I was in a reviewing mood, so you've got it again if you haven't heard it before.
Anyone serious about algorithms, programming or complexity will already have these books.
There are more accessible books on algorithms if you're learning for the first time, but Knuth is a legend and from a maths point of view it's hard to find fault with these books which are a reference everyone should have access to.
High dimension and big data computing present challenges that aren't addressed here, but like Bill said, "If you have read all this and understand it, you should definitely give me a call".
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on 4 January 2015
This is a very very long work with a strong, pseudo-academic, emphasis on technical detail. You should definitely assume that you won't have time to read it all, but the information conveyed is useful and clear. It would work quite well as a reference, where you look up some specific topic on your mind, but in that case you might want to research works which are specialised for the topic in mind, as this will not have all the latest information and techniques.

This work (TAoCP) is technically incomplete in that there is more to be added, but as Knuth's life's work it is unlikely that it will be finished in the medium term, so that's definitely no reason not to buy it.

To be frank, it works much better as a token of geekiness than a set of books to read, yet if you do not attempt to read it you will be missing out.
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on 10 June 2014
Don't buy these books if you're not (going to become) a scientist. If you're creating regular apps within some framework look at other books that describe algorithms and give some basic insight into algorithm analysis. You hardly ever will need to create anything really from scratch, to prove formally the correctness of an algorithm and so forth. If you just need to have your work done, don't buy these books. Better pay attention to object-oriented programming, to refactoring, to unit tests, to your platform specifics. These books will hardly make you more competitve on the market of app developers. There are so many other books which are just to the point. To be a good car driver you don't need to know anything about atoms structure and their valence. However the basics of how engine and electricity works, the approaches to diagnostics and repair in th field is essential. Hope the metaphor describes it all. These books are for the lowest level possible in computer science and 95% of us just don't work at this level. Sold these books happily and will reinvest the money into something (much) closer to the ground.
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on 6 August 2014
That's it, the masterpiece that shouldn't fail in any programmers library.
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