Art of Computer Programming, Volume 3: Sorting and Searching, 2nd Edition
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Donald E. Knuth is known throughout the world for his pioneering work on algorithms and programming techniques, for his invention of the Tex and Metafont systems for computer typesetting, and for his prolific and influential writing. Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University, he currently devotes full time to the completion of these fascicles and the seven volumes to which they belong.
|Innovations interviews Donald Knuth|
He joined Stanford University as Professor of Computer Science in 1968, and was appointed to Stanford's first endowed chair in computer science nine years later. As a university professor he introduced a variety of new courses into the curriculum, notably Data Structures and Concrete Mathematics. In 1993 he became Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming. He has supervised the dissertations of 28 students.
Knuth began in 1962 to prepare textbooks about programming techniques, and this work evolved into a projected seven-volume series entitled The Art of Computer Programming. Volumes 1-3 first appeared in 1968, 1969, and 1973. Having revised these three in 1997, he is now working full time on the remaining volumes. Approximately one million copies have already been printed, including translations into six languages. He took ten years off from this project to work on digital typography, developing the TeX system for document preparation and the METAFONT system for alphabet design. Noteworthy by-products of those activities were the WEB and CWEB languages for structured documentation, and the accompanying methodology of Literate Programming. TeX is now used to produce most of the world's scientific literature in physics and mathematics.
His research papers have been instrumental in establishing several subareas of computer science and software engineering: LR(k) parsing; attribute grammars; the Knuth-Bendix algorithm for axiomatic reasoning; empirical studies of user programs and profiles; analysis of algorithms. In general, his works have been directed towards the search for a proper balance between theory and practice.
Professor Knuth received the ACM Turing Award in 1974 and became a Fellow of the British Computer Society in 1980, an Honorary Member of the IEEE in 1982. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and a foreign associate of l'Academie des Sciences (Paris) and Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi (Oslo). He holds five patents and has published approximately 160 papers in addition to his 19 books. He received the Medal of Science from President Carter in 1979, the American Mathematical Society's Steele Prize for expository writing in 1986, the New York Academy of Sciences Award in 1987, the J.D. Warnier Prize for software methodology in 1989, the Adelsköld Medal from the Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1994, the Harvey Prize from the Technion in 1995, and the Kyoto Prize for advanced technology in 1996. He was a charter recipient of the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award in 1982, after having received the IEEE Computer Society's W. Wallace McDowell Award in 1980; he received the IEEE's John von Neumann Medal in 1995. He holds honorary doctorates from Oxford University, the University of Paris, St. Petersburg University, and more than a dozen colleges and universities in America.
Professor Knuth lives on the Stanford campus with his wife, Jill. They have two children, John and Jennifer. Music is his main avocation.
Finally, after a wait of more than thirty-five years, the first part of Volume 4 is at last ready for publication. Check out the boxed set that brings together Volumes 1 - 4A in one elegant case, and offers the purchaser a $50 discount off the price of buying the four volumes individually.
The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-4A Boxed Set, 3/e
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
What's old is new again,
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This review is from: Art of Computer Programming, Volume 3: Sorting and Searching (2nd Edition) (Hardcover)First the basics: it's great, it provides wide-ranging and deep analysis, it shows many views and variants of each problem, and its bibliography is helpful, though not exhaustive. The historical notes, including sorts for drum storage, may seem quaint to modern readers. And sorting has been done, right? You just run a shell program or call a function, and tap into the best technology. Does it need to be done again?
Yes, if you're on the edge of technology, it does need to be done again, and again, and again. That's because technology keeps expanding, and violating old assumptions as it does. Memories got big enough that the million-record sort is now a yawn, where it used to be a journal article. But, at the same time, processor clocks got 100-1000x ahead of memory speeds. All of a sudden, those drum-based algorithms are worth another look, because yesteryear's drum:memory ratios are a lot like today's memory:cache ratios of size and speed - and who doesn't want a 100x... Read more
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The best known source of seaching and sorting algorithms,
By A Customer
This review is from: Art of Computer Programming, Volume 3: Sorting and Searching (2nd Edition) (Hardcover)This book in a keystone work of computer science. Now and then one needs a "binary search" or a related algorithm, and Knuth's book has it. Such algorithms, although basic, are notoriously easy to get wrong. The style of writing requires the reader to have some mathematics and programming background. Otherwise a reader will need to study the writing style and algorithm description.
Computer Scientists are waiting for this skilled practitioner to finish his life's work, namely Vols. 4-7. Let us hope the author has the patience and time to accomplish it.
17 of 25 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Art of Computer Programming, Volume 3: Sorting and Searching (2nd Edition) (Hardcover)This book is bible of computer programming.
It contains most detailed explanation of searching and sorting methods I ever found in a book. Contains all internal sorting and searching and external sorting and searching algorithms.
The only drawback of the book is that all algorithms are written in MIX - some kind of assembler, and because of that they are hard to read.
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- Cookery is become an art,
a noble science;
cooks are gentlemen.
- TITUS LIVIUS, Ab Urbe Condita XXXIX.vi
(Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy 184.108.40.206)
This book forms a natural sequel to the material on information structures in Chapter 2 of Volume 1, because it adds the concept of linearly ordered data to the other basic structural ideas.
The title "Sorting and Searching" may sound as if this book is only for those systems programmers who are concerned with the preparation of general-purpose sorting routines or applications to information retrieval. But in fact the area of sorting and searching provides an ideal framework for discussing a wide variety of important general issues:
- How are good algorithms discovered?
- How can given algorithms and programs be improved?
- How can the efficiency of algorithms be analyzed mathematically?
- How can a person choose rationally between different algorithms for the same task?
- In what senses can algorithms be proved ''best possible''?
- How does the theory of computing interact with practical considerations?
- How can external memories like tapes, drums, or disks be used efficiently with large databases?
Indeed, I believe that virtually every important aspect of programming arises somewhere in the context of sorting or searching!
This volume comprises Chapters 5 and 6 of the complete series. Chapter 5 is concerned with sorting into order; this is a large subject that has been divided chiefly into two parts, internal sorting and external sorting. There also are supplementary sections, which develop auxiliary theories about permutations (Section 5.1) and about optimum techniques for sorting (Section 5.3). Chapter 6 deals with the problem of searching for specified items in tables or files; this is subdivided into methods that search sequentially, or by comparison of keys, or by digital properties, or by hashing, and then the more difficult problem of secondary key retrieval is considered. There searching related to sorting is a surprising amount of interplay between both chapters, with strong analogies tying the topics together. Two important varieties of information structures are also discussed, in addition to those considered in Chapter 2, namely priority queues (Section 5.2.3) and linear lists represented as balanced trees (Section 6.2.3).
Like Volumes 1 and 2, this book includes a lot of material that does not appear in other publications. Many people have kindly written to me about their ideas, or spoken to me about them, and I hope that I have not distorted the material too badly when I have presented it in my own words.
I have not had time to search the patent literature systematically; indeed, I decry the current tendency to seek patents on algorithms (see Section 5.4.5). If somebody sends me a copy of a relevant patent not presently cited in this book, I will dutifully refer to it in future editions. However, I want to encourage people to continue the centuries-old mathematical tradition of putting newly discovered algorithms into the public domain. There are better ways to earn a living than to prevent other people from making use of one's contributions to computer science.
Before I retired from teaching, I used this book as a text for a student's second course in data structures, at the junior-to-graduate level, omitting most of the mathematical material. I also used the mathematical portions of this book as the basis for graduate-level courses in the analysis of algorithms, emphasizing especially Sections 5.1, 5.2.2, 6.3, and 6.4. A graduate-level course on concrete computational complexity could also be based on Sections 5.3, and 5.4.4, together with Sections 4.3.3, 4.6.3, and 4.6.4 of Volume 2.
For the most part this book is self-contained, except for occasional discussions relating to the MIX computer explained in Volume 1. Appendix B MIX computer contains a summary of the mathematical notations used, some of which are a little different from those found in traditional mathematics books.Preface to the Second Edition
This new edition matches the third editions of Volumes 1 and 2, in which I have been able to celebrate the completion of TeX and MF by applying those systems to the publications they were designed for.
The conversion to electronic format has given me the opportunity to go over every word of the text and every punctuation mark. I've tried to retain the youthful exuberance of my original sentences while perhaps adding some more mature judgment. Dozens of new exercises have been added; dozens of old exercises have been given new and improved answers. Changes appear everywhere, but most significantly in Sections 5.1.4 (about permutations and tableaux), 5.3 (about optimum sorting), 5.4.9 (about disk sorting), 6.2.2 (about entropy), 6.4 (about universal hashing), and 6.5 (about multidimensional trees and tries).
The Art of Computer Programming is, however, still a work in progress. Research on sorting and searching continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. Therefore some parts of this book are headed by an ''under construction'' icon, to apologize for the fact that the material is not up-to-date. For example, if I were teaching an undergraduate class on data structures today, I would surely discuss randomized structures such as treaps at some length; but at present, I am only able to cite the principal papers on the subject, and to announce plans for a future Section 6.2.5 (see page 6.2.5). My files are bursting with important material that I plan to include in the final, glorious, third edition of Volume 3, perhaps 17 years from now. But I must finish Volumes 4 and 5 first, and I do not want to delay their publication any more than absolutely necessary.
I am enormously grateful to the many hundreds of people who have helped me to gather and refine this material during the past 35 years. Most of the hard work of preparing the new edition was accomplished by Phyllis Winkler (who put the text of the first edition into TeX form), by Silvio Levy (who edited it extensively and helped to prepare several dozen illustrations), and by Jeffrey Oldham (who converted more than 250 of the original illustrations to METAPOST format). The production staff at Addison Wesley has also been extremely helpful, as usual.D. E. K.
- There are certain common Privileges of a Writer,
the Benefit whereof, I hope, there will be no Reason to doubt;
Particularly, that where I am not understood, it shall be concluded,
that something very useful and profound is coucht underneath.
- JONATHAN SWIFT, Tale of a Tub, Preface (1704)
Table of Contents
Answers to Exercises.
Appendix A: Tables of Numerical Quantities.
Appendix B: Index to Notations.
Index and Glossary. 0201896850T04062001
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