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Hacker's Delight

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,114 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Aiming to tell the dark secrets of computer arithmetic, this title is suitable for library developers, compiler writers, and lovers of elegant hacks.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 17th 2002 by Addison-Wesley Professional
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  1,114 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: computer-science
Imagine a minicomputer programmer in 1972 or a microcomputer programmer in 1982 who needed to implement more integer operations than the standard plus, minus, bitwise and, or and xor provided by the computer's architecture: things like the number of one bits in a word, the position of the rightmost one bit in a word, cyclic redundancy check, the difference between two integers or zero if it is negative, and so on. It is possible to write straightforward algorithms implementing these operations, ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nerd-stuff
(4.0) Full on geek out, probably only helpful if you're writing assembly or compilers or something

I've not often (if ever?) read a book straight through in one setting, but that happened to me last night (to my wife's great disapproval). It's a tour of clever ways to accomplish all sorts of computation as efficiently as possible (primarily by avoiding any branch statements, the vermin!). I'm not sure I'll ever apply any of these, but I did enjoy the clever mathiness of a state machine implemente
Koen Crolla
Basically HAKMEM repeated by someone worse at mathematics. If you enjoyed this you'll probably like the earlier chapters, though you shouldn't be allowed to read them. If you like numbers, you'll probably like the later ones, though not if you also like any sort of rigour in your maths.
It's unlikely that you won't find anything at all to like in the book (I liked the chapter on Gray codes, for instance), but even if you like it all, you won't find its three hundred or so pages to be $59.99 ($71
Nick Black
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I haven't enjoyed a book this thoroughly in perhaps a decade. Everything you should have learned in computer school, but somehow missed. I've used at least a dozen techniques from this short masterwork (largely culled from HAKMEM -- devotees of that long-gone-but-not-forgotten first and greatest 'zine know this speaks to quality) in the year since I eagerly tore through my pre-ordered edition with almost sexual pleasure. Reading it is like a stroll down memory lane, except the road's been blaste ...more
Sweemeng Ng
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more of a recipe books of techniques, things that many forget as we don't use it anymore. It is interesting, very deep. Not exactly practical among my circle.

I think I can scare some junior dev by showing off this book
Aug 01, 2020 added it
Sounds like a lot of people think this a clever book. Perhaps too clever for me... I will play around with programming in C for a bit and come back to this again and make a more learned position, but at this point I am completely unqualified to rate this book.
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rebekah Mercer
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a good read, but it is better suited to have on hand as a reference book than to read as a novel :)
Kai Wolf
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computer-science
A profound book on bit-fiddling/shifting, low-level optimization stuff. Great read overall.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is good fun if you're into low level programming. It's full of nice bit-twiddling and clear explanations of elementary concepts like hamming codes, ...more
Benjamin Prosnitz
Jun 06, 2021 rated it liked it
More of a reference book than anything
Sergey Machulskis
Feb 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dropped, professional
This is a collection of silly exercises like "implement this arithmetic operator using only division and negation".

In general hacks are nice. Fast inverse square root comes to mind as an example. But this book is too low-level for it.

I really wish I would never need a hack from this book.
Gregory Blake
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hacker's Delight promises to tell the secrets of computer arithmetic, and it very much does that. From the basics of bitwise operations to Single-Error Correcting codes, this book contains an impressive repertoire of tricks for low-level software work.

If you're frustrated by branch mispredictions ruining your algorithm's performance, this book might have the branchless algorithm you're looking for.

The Integer Division chapters felt bloated and jammed with proofs, and the section on unusual bases
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Great stuff. Yes, I have read HAKMEM (or most of it) and yes bithacks was the the website that actually made me think about buying this book. I wont go as far as saying this book sucks or anything. I think its one of those classics if u are new to CS and havnt had a chance to mess with bits as much. Anyway, it was good, I like it fine!
Sami Gh
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i love to be good hacker
Dec 18, 2010 is currently reading it
lots of programming tricks, not sure if it's useful. But it's good to at least know about it. That said, knowing is requires significant effort. ...more
Michael Economy
Jul 16, 2009 marked it as did-not-complete
Shelves: work-related
Lots of cool assembly/c level shortcuts.
Kevin Watkins
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book, excellent for basic bitshifting tricks. Don't try and read it cover to cover during your commute to work though, it is hard going at times... ...more
Mar 16, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
comprehensive algorithms wide for a hiker
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Why anyone would want to write code like this is beyond me, unless of course you are trying to win the annual obfuscated C contest then it's probably a godsend. ...more
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