What place does Rod Stephens's Essential Algorithms book fill?

I have Knuth, how is Rod Stephens's Essential Algorithms different? And why would I want it too?
(This seems a fundament question that should be answered in the book's description.)
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  • Hello Dave,

    I'd be happy to help. This title is published by Wiley and you can contact them here:

    Phone: (877) 762-2974
    Fax: (800) 597-3299
    Web: http://support.wiley.com

    Below are some experts from the book that might help clarify the focus of the book:

    " This book is an easy-to-read introduction to computer algorithms. It describes a number of important classical algorithms and tells when each is appropriate. It explains how to analyze algorithms to understand their behavior. Most importantly, it teaches techniques that you can use to create new algorithms on your own. "

    1.
    "Who This Book Is For
    This book is intended primarily for three kinds of readers: professional program- mers, programmers preparing for job interviews, and programming students.
    2.
    Professional programmers will find the algorithms and techniques described in this book useful for solving problems they face on the job. Even when you encounter a problem that isn’t directly addressed by an algorithm in this book, reading about these algorithms will give you new perspectives from which to view problems so that you can find new solutions.
    Programmers preparing for job interviews can use this book to hone their algorithmic skills. Your interviews may not include any of the problems described in this book, but they may contain questions that are similar enough that you can use the techniques you learned in this book to solve them.
    3.
    Programming students should be required to study algorithms. Many of the approaches described in this book are simple, elegant, and powerful, but they’re not all obvious, so you won’t necessarily stumble across them on your own. Techniques such as recursion, divide and conquer, branch and bound, and using well-known data structures are essential to anyone who has an interest in programming."

    Hope this helps and have a great day!

    Kind regards,
    Paul Fichera
    Customer Service Representative
    O'Reilly Media
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  • I don't think the original question was answered -- how does this book differ from others that have long been available on the topic, for example Knuth or Sedgewick? What language, if any, do the examples in this book use?
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  • Kunth, Sedgewick, etc. provide rigorous proofs of their algorithms. This book explains algorithms more informally. It focuses more on intuitive understanding of how the algorithms work and how to implement them instead of formal correctness proofs. (Although a few of the algorithms have some fairly involved proofs.)

    The selection of algorithms is also less academically oriented. I tried to pick algorithms that I thought were interesting, useful, and possibly helpful in technical interviews. Some of the "clever trick" algorithms such as the tortoise and hare algorithm for finding loops in linked lists don't appear in the classic algorithm books.

    If you want an exhaustive treatment of, for example, sorting, get Knuth's books. They (and Sedgewick, Standish, Wirth, etc.) are great books and I have copies of a bunch of them. if you just want to learn about the major kinds of sorting algorithms and get some of them running so you can experiment with them, this book may be a better fit.

    Going back to the original question, if you have Knuth and are happy with what you learned there, then you may not need this book, too. It does include some algorithms that are not covered in Knuth, but Knuth certainly covers the classics thoroughly.

    This book uses pseudocode in the text and has downloadable examples in C#.

    (If you're using Visual Basic, it's a fairly easy translation. If you're using C++ or Java, translation is a bit harder depending on your programming environment but the syntax of those languages is fairly similar. Many of the classic books have examples in C or C++.)

    I hope that helps.
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