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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-3 Boxed Set
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Donald Knuth, Donald E. Knuth
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Why these books are important to me

These three books are amazing. A deep, definitive coverage of the theoretical basis of computer science. In fact, to the extent that computer science is a science, you should refer to these books, if you are ever in doubt. As a measure of how well regarded these are, Knuth mentions in his home page that American Scientist magazine ranked this amongst the top 12 scientific monographs of the twentieth century, alongside books by Einstein, Dirac, Pauling and Feynman.
Much of computer programming and usage today builds upon the algorithms described in the books. What does it mean to have a "good" random number generator? What are quantitative tests for randomness? How can you efficiently sort a list? How do you find the greatest common factor of two (large) positive integers?
It is true that the typical computer programmer does not know most of the material in the books. This is because she usually can access subroutines that come with the language or are in standard libraries that implement the core algorithms. For example, in Java, there is a routine called Collections.sort(), which you call with the name of a list in the brackets, and the routine will sort it.
But within the field of computer programming, sometimes you may be called upon to implement those core algorithms. So what do you do? Turn here for help.
The books are also graced with a vital attribute. Each section of a chapter has a set of questions. Typically these are tough; they can keep you busy indeed. Plus, Knuth supplies the answers. The combination is a great learning experience. So often have I wondered at textbooks that don't supply questions. Students need hands on experience.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Publisher: Graphics Press
Authors: Edward R. Tufte
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Make quantitative information useful for decision making

I have heard this book described as a really good coffee-table book. It's content, while often technical and very much focused on the theory of graphs and diagrams and data and information, very practically demonstrates the impact of how quantitative information is visually presented, and shows many alternatives that are quantum improvements on the originals. It's easy to draw out the principles that Tufte demonstrates, and to apply them to your own work.

The book's examples are drawn from many interesting areas such as the New York State Budget, train schedule graphs, irrigation maps of 1972, heights of college students, the price of crude oil and the thermal conductivity of tungsten. Through these case studies, Tufte makes conscious for the reader the way in which humans read visual information and how poorly the majority of our visual information is designed in respect of this.

It has greatly influenced the work I do in helping people design reports of organisational performance information, how they choose and format charts in particular. I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who regularly reports or presents data and information to others to assist their decision making.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great study aid for the tests

I studied this book for two weeks before taking the tests and passed both on the first try. I read the whole book in the first three days that I had it, and I work full time during the day! I only had two or three questions on the DOS/Windows test that I didn't remember seeing in the book. Now it's time for Core Four for Dummies !

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mathematica Navigator : Mathematics, Statistics, and Graphics
Publisher: Academic Press
Authors: Heikki Ruskeepaa
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great introduction, great reference

This comprehensive volume covers many topics. Indeed, I would probably call it the most COMPREHENSIVE yet GENERAL text on the inner workings of the Mathematica program. For instance, Dr. Ruskeepaa treats the topic of 4 dimensional graphics, and I have not found that topis highlighted in any text. Furthermore, when it comes to specific mathematical models, such as difference equations, more information is located in this volume that anywhere else [except perhaps the on-line MathSource Mathematica Library]. Dr. Ruskeepaa's book not only demonstrates the basics in each category, but goes beyond what other resources have taught me. I highly recommend this book! Additionally, the CD-ROM which accompanies the book is quite handy. Lastly, I have had occaision to ask Dr. Ruskeepaa specific questions, and he has been MORE THAN HELPFUL and PUNCTUAL in providing me with solutions from his vast Mathematica knowledge. FIVE STARS -- better than any Mathematica book [I've seen most Mathematica books about graphics, physics and science; and programming].