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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Perl (3rd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, Jon Orwant
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
excellent reference

The must have Perl resource. It was written by the the creator of Perl for goodness sake! Offers thorough reference to Perl's rich set of text manipulation features. Not a tutorial but more of a intermediate/expert reference manual. Get Learning Perl(Camel Book) and this book. You will be a perl hacker in no time flat!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
If you like Java...

The book got me far enough into the language for me to see that it's (Java) not really worth it (my opinion, not his). Saved me a lot of time. Bruce is one of the clearest technical authors I have had the pleasure to encounter. Right up there with the best. His "Thinking in C++" is a masterwork of clarity.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Swarm Intelligence
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Russell C. Eberhart, Yuhui Shi, James Kennedy
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A good, readable survey of PSO techniques

The book contains:
a) An overview of evolutionary programming techniques.
b) An exposition of the argument that intelligent behavior has a large social component in addition to a genetically determined component.
c) The presentation of an optimisation technique whereby a swarm of possible solutions fly through a problem space and base their search trajectories not only on personal experience but also on the experiences of the group. ie- There is a social component to the search of the problem space.
The presentation of (a) and (b) was quite good and readable. The presentation of (c) I found to be a little bit unclear. The algorithm is quite simple, and can be expressed succinctly, but I ended up having to go to secondary sources (web site and PSO C code) to understand exactly what they were doing. The title of the book seems to suggest the swarm develops an emergent property of intelligence. This is over-reach, and is probably not an interpretation that the authors would place on the PSO algorithm. The PSO algorithm is an interesting numeric optimisation technique, and it seems to be a more organic approach to developing neural network weights than techniques like back-propagation of errors.
Overall, a good book that I would recommend. Points off for not being clearer in explaining the algorithm details.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Linux Programming (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Richard Stones, Neil Matthew, Alan Cox
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An excellent introduction to various concepts

I can't say enough good things about this book! It covers a wide range of topics to such a depth that you will be proficient enough to slinging code when a section is compleat. For example before going into this book I had no ncurses knowlege at all, but by the end of the chapter I was coding ncurses apps easily, and I had a good idea where to go for topics that wern't covered in the book. This book does assume that you are proficient in C and the topics (exp threads and ipc) can get nasty quick. So if your looking for a beginning programming book you would be better off looking elsewhere, but if you need a introduction to linux/unix programming this is the book for you.