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The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms

(Art of Computer Programming)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,801 ratings  ·  52 reviews
The bible of all fundamental algorithms and the work that taught many of today's software developers most of what they know about computer programming. -Byte, September 1995 I can't begin to tell you how many pleasurable hours of study and recreation they have afforded me! I have pored over them in cars, restaurants, at work, at home... and even at a Little League game wh ...more
Hardcover, Third Edition, 672 pages
Published July 7th 1997 by Addison-Wesley (first published January 1st 1973)
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David I'll take a stab at this: I think TAoCP is difficult only because it might be hard to see the forest for the trees - or rather for the pretty pattern …moreI'll take a stab at this: I think TAoCP is difficult only because it might be hard to see the forest for the trees - or rather for the pretty pattern of the bark of one of the trees.(less)

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Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it
At first, I enjoyed this dense and scholarly volume. Knuth's dry humor is peppered throughout the book, but pops up most frequently in the first few chapters. It seemed at odds with the negative (and adoring) opinions I'd read about the book.

I was told (by Knuth in his introduction) that I could skip as much of the math as I liked. So I dutifully skimmed through the math chapter and continued.

Then I hit MIX. It's the theoretical computer to which all of the program examples in the book will be w
Mar 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
oh, who am i kidding? i have never read this straight through, but i think i've covered a lot of it over the course of 8 years as an engineer. if i was stranded on a desert island with enough food and water to last the rest of my life, this series of books is what i would take with me. there are so many puzzles in these books that it could keep you occupied for a lifetime. i don't know how one man wrote these books. ...more
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: partially-read
This book is so deep that literally no one can read it and understand and keep that knowledge. Most people out here concede to not have read the whole thing. It's just too much.

It has become more of a status symbol amongst the intellectuals to show off that they "have read TOACP". But really this book is just an antique encyclopedia with extreme details. Yeah Bill Gates praised it, but Mr. Gates doesn't code any more.

For anyone graduating in the post pandemic world. This book is probably NOT for
Warren Mcpherson
This book outlines the design of computers and shows how many of the challenges of programming development have been addressed. It is a great and foundational computer science book. Today, understanding the operation of the processor is less critical and the way data structures are used has somewhat evolved. The math and assembly programs gave critical insight into practice and optimization at one time, however are less relevant now. Programmers who read it will still love this book.
It was a nic
Michal Paszkiewicz
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent learning resource for anyone with an interest in computers or mathematics. Not exactly a light read, but it provides a great set of tools that can be applied to many situations. The problem sets were concise, interesting and a far better substitute to doing sudokus on the morning commute.

I tried to work through all the problems rated 25 or less, while glancing at the more complex/time consuming ones, but I sometimes lacked the skills to complete a problem. I would like to revisit t
Nov 25, 2010 is currently reading it
I really cant understand how one could write code without reading these books.
Gregory Blake
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Donald E. Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming provides a detailed textbook for classical Computer Science, starting with the foundational mathematics and working through (in this volume) data structures such as Linked Lists, Trees, and Graphs.

While authoritative and enjoyable to read, I personally felt unprepared (even with advance warning) for the sheer volume of mathematics in Chapter 1, and spent the first 120 pages reeling from notations that I hadn't read before. After the "Introductory
Oleg Shmykov
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
It is definitely expanding your horizons but if you skip the math and MIX there is not too much of useful information after all. Unfortunately this book was too hard to read and follow.
Antti Karanta
This book was somewhat of a mixed blessing. I really enjoyed the mathematical exactness and thoroughness. However, I did not at all like the decision to have the sample code in a made-up assembly language. That made the programs utterly unreadable. Maybe I'm just not HC geek enough, but IMO when the point is to present algorithms, the sample code should be clear and easy to read. Using a higher level language would have been more appropriate.

Also, it would have been nice to have had flow graphs
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Still great, but in dire need of a 4th edition update; new readers should strongly consider getting the MMIX supplements.

Flipped through the math section, but read the rest of the book page by page. Well, except for the proofs and exercises (only did a handful of them mentally).

Picked up the books again with the aim to read volume 4 and its fascicles. We'll see.
Kevin Watkins
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Obviously a classic but a really hard read due to everything being written in MIX - would much prefer pseudo-code.
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is one of the best books which makes me love Computer Science. It is simple and fascinating, and every chapter marks a new milestone...
Mikael Onsjö
Although well written and thorough with some delicious humor, this did not meet up to my expectations. I did learn a few things about this and that (not the least tree traversals) but much space was wasted on superfluous detail. For instance I did not care squat for the MIX assembly language code examples that took up page after page. Personally I'm very interested in math, but there was also a disconnect between the chapters on background theory and the later ones on algorithms. ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Knuth wrote this book for people who already know almost everything it tries to teach you. Sections move from easy to understand to immensely complex in a sentence or two. Finishing it is more of a badge of honor than an actual learning experience. Combine the fast pace with the outdated MIX computer, and the relevancy of this book to modern programmers is minimal. I still did learn some cool things, but it could have been a lot better.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing monograph on computer science, very didactically written. With well-thought structure and great excercises, it is perfectly suitable as a textbook for two full courses, as well as a textbook for independent study. The excercises themselves, especially from the first chapter, provide great entertainment for the so inclined reader, in many areas of mathematics.
Ian Carmichael
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
More elegant science writing - one of the deep, foundational thinkers in Computer Science. Packed with insight, rigour, and interesting mathematical puzzles (I love mathematics, but usually I find mathematical puzzles very uninteresting.)
And a ditto goes to Volumes 2 and 3.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book once is not enough. It's an amazing piece that everyone should read, or at least skim through. There are so great tips and insights I've never seen elsewhere, and reading the whole thing just opens up your mind to a lot of things. ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic piece of literature for computer science. It is however, not an introductory book, so the reader must know quite a lot of mathematics and abstract computer programming to get the most out of this book. Even though it is quite old, it is still relevant in many ways.
Feb 22, 2007 is currently reading it
He's crazy. He's brilliant.
If you are a programmer - read it.
Darrell Ulm
Essential reading for study of algorithms.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quite incredible. Took me a very long time to finish, but was absolutely worth it. Truly the gold standard for algorithm analysis.
Robert Fishell
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The foundation of modern computer science distilled into a single volume. The Knuth books are essential references for anyone serious about the field.
Anthony O'Connor
Aug 14, 2022 rated it liked it

I have been meaning to read these 4? books for quite some time. They are widely known, and highly praised classics. But based on Volume One it is hard to see why. Despite some clearly minor brushing up ( in 1997 third edition ) it is still all fairly archaic. The Book declines to state information about timing of earlier editions, not surprisingly. I believe it was the late 1960s, early 1970s. It is at least an interesting read from an historical perspective. Some of the figures gi
Bill Kaplan
Oct 16, 2022 rated it liked it
Make no mistake: this book is important to have for any serious computer scientist. That said, it does have some notable shortcomings. In some areas it spends too much time on things that aren't that important, and in other areas it glosses over details for things that are important. A lot of the key information in the book shows up only in the exercises (and the answers, for which the book deserves a lot of credit for giving); that's good, but the problem is it makes the reader work too hard to ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A classic and a gem.
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
skimmed most of this over the break. Reading the whole thing will of course take at least a month, even though the concepts in the first volume are rather basic. The chapter on trees was really good, although I didn't have time to read the whole thing. ...more
Hung Le khanh
I 've read three first volumes of this tremendous work.
I understand most algorithms there without looking a single line of MIX code!
Ben Rogers
This was a very interesting book on algorithms.

It was actually quite beautiful and artistic at times.

Would recommend if you are into coding and like patterns and algorithms like me.

Manoj Khatri
Apr 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The OG.
Jul 05, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The historical information about the origin of computing alone is worth the read, but his genuine kindness and appreciation for the subject really make it feel approachable.

My head hurts
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Donald Ervin Knuth, born January 10th 1938, is a renowned computer scientist and Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University.

Author of the seminal multi-volume work The Art of Computer Programming ("TAOCP"), Knuth has been called the "father" of the analysis of algorithms, contributing to the development of, and systematizing formal mathematical techniques for, the

Other books in the series

Art of Computer Programming (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 2: Seminumerical Algorithms
  • The Art of Computer Programming: Volume 3: Sorting and Searching
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-3 Boxed Set
  • Introduction To Combinatorial Algorithms And Boolean Functions
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 0: Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and Boolean Functions
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 1: Bitwise Tricks & Techniques; Binary Decision Diagrams
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 2: Generating All Tuples and Permutations
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 3: Generating All Combinations and Partitions
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 4: Generating All Trees--History of Combinatorial Generation
  • Generating All Trees History Of Combinatorial Generation

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