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Computer Science Books Buying Guide

If your interested in computer science, it's good to have a few computer science books  in your literature collection. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a student taking your first computer science class, these books act as great references and are likely to teach you a thing or two. We've compiled some of the most popular and highest rated computer science books on the market just for you.

Quick Picks

Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen 

Perfect for classroom study (at the university level), this book explores virtually every aspect of algorithms. Though it is heavy in math, it provides proofs and clear language to make it good for the math-averse. However, it is best to have some background in the mathematics involved, else it might be a bit over your head.

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter 

Okay, so this book isn't really just about computer science. It focuses on links between the music of Bach, the art of Escher, and the mathematics of Godel, but it also examines the prospects for computers and artificial intelligence to mimic human thought.

Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing by William H. Press 

These books are sort of like Cliff Notes, as they come in a series made up of books each focusing on a different computer language. It is a great resource to have to help you understand complicated concepts that aren't well explained in your course textbook.

Inner Loops: A Sourcebook for Fast 32-bit Software Development by Rick Booth 

This book focuses on 32-bit PC computing and explores the new rules and opportunities of a wide-open memory space, parallel instruction execution, and clock speeds in the hundreds of megahertz.

The Computer and the Brain by John Von Neumann 

John von Neumann,  genius, mathematician, and inventor of the computer  architecture that bears his name, offers his thoughts on machine and biological intelligence. Though a bit dated, his books shows his vast knowledge of neuroscience and his incredible ability to explore every corner of thinking.

Python Cookbook by Alex Martelli 

This book offers collection of problems, solutions, and practical examples for Python programmers. If you are interested in learning the powerful Python language or are a professional looking for a reference, this book is exactly what you need.

Machine Learning by Tom M. Mitchell 

This book is a great reference for professionals and an outstanding text for university students. Never has machine learning been so clearly explained. The book focuses on the concepts and techniques behind the ever changing world of machine learning, and explores artificial intelligence, neural networks, and probability and statistics.

C Programming Language by by Brian W. Kernighan 

We can't find a single negative thing said about this book. We did find tons of praise, including claims that "just about every C programmer I respect learned C from this book" (a review from Amazon). This book is obviously on top of its game, and simply teaches you C without stuffing 30 useless CD-ROMS down your throat.

Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert 

This innovative book is perfect for those looking for an interesting read, studying education/children's behavior, or those interested in the relationship between children and computers. The two themes of this book are that children can learn at an early age how to use computers, and that upon learning that, it can change the way they learn everything else.

Black Art of 3D Game Programming: Writing Your Own High-Speed 3D Polygon Video Games in C by Andre Lamothe 

There is only one flaw with this book: the CD-ROM is only for DOS-based C compilers. However, most of the source code is in the book, and the general principles would apply to all platforms. The book explores so many aspects of writing 3D games in C, and it is all done with extreme clarity.

Michael Abrash's Graphics Programming Black Book (Special Edition) by Michael Abrash 

Though much of this book is out of date, the major concepts it explores are still very useful. It can teach you the thought processes behind being creative and inventive with graphics programming, as well as the basic programming skills and logic needed.

The Art of Computer Programming by Donald E. Knuth 

If you are going to have one book in your library, consider this one a good choice. No one explains computer programming with more clarity, accuracy, or elegance. Perfect for students and seasoned professionals.

Computational Complexity by Christos H. Papadimitriou 

This book is one of the best on the subject of computational complexity. It offers accessible treatment of the theory of algorithms and complexity, as well as the development of the mathematical skills needed (computability, logic, number theory, combinatorics, and probability).

Programming in ANSI C by Stephen G. Kochan 

Everything you need to know to work in ANSI C is inside this book. A great resource for professionals and students alike!

Introduction to the Theory of Computation by Michael Sipser 

This book is the perfect introductory text on computation. Intended for upper level undergraduates and first year graduate students, this book is a must have for those study computer science at the university level.


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