Mark Needham

Thoughts on Software Development

9 algorithms that changed the future – John MacCormick: Book Review

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The Book

9 algorithms that changed the future (the ingenious ideas that drive today’s computers) by John MacCormick

My Thoughts

I came across this book while idly browsing a book store and since I’ve found most introduction to algorithms books very dry I thought it’d be interesting to see what one aimed at the general public would be like.

Overall it was an enjoyable read and I quite like the pattern that the author used for each algorithm, which was:

  • Describe the problem that it’s needed for.
  • Explain a simplified version of the algorithm or use a metaphor to give the general outline.
  • Explain which bits were simplified and how the real version addresses those simplifications.

The first step is often missed out in algorithms books which is a mistake for people like me who become more interested in a subject once a practical use case is explained.

Although the title claims 9 algorithms I counted the following 8 which made the cut:

I enjoyed the book and I’ve got some interesting articles/papers to add to my reading list. Even if you already know all the algorithms I think it’s interesting to hear them described from a completely different angle to see if you learn something new.

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Written by Mark Needham

August 13th, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Books

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