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Looking for a book about C with special criteria

 
 
Richard
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      03-10-2008
Micah Cowan <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>
>> Richard wrote:
>>
>>> "(E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>>>
>>>> If you can cope with it I'd try Knuth's Art of Programming (volume
>>>> one). It takes you through a lot of detail about how computers
>>>> represent things like lists and arrays internally, and all that and
>>>> all in terms of classical computing.
>>>
>>> I have never, ever, been able to understand how ANYONE can recommend
>>> these to a beginner. They are not eminently readable at all. They are
>>> a classic work used for reference. They are in NO WAY suitable to
>>> teaching someone how to program a computer.
>>>
>>> Technical reference, or a resource to look up some good legalize in
>>> order to dazzle the clc regulars, maybe, but a beginners reference?
>>> Come off it.

>>
>> They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
>> The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
>> as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
>> up.

>
> The maths, the (obsolete) MIX assembly language (with its C-ish
> ambiguities wrt word sizes), and the mathematicians' terseness of
> language.
>
> I have spent hours on a paragraph or two (of English) in some portions
> of TAOCP, trying to delve the full meaning of what Knuth is saying.
>
> I love Knuth, and I love TAOCP, but I've absolutely got to agree that
> it is in no way suitable for beginners.


I am unaware of any course where it was ever a recommended text for new
students. It's a reference. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I could understand hardly anything in it to be honest. It would be clc
nectar though :-;

I am at a loss to understand how anyone could recommend them for
beginners.


 
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Ben Pfaff
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      03-10-2008
santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
[about TAoCP]
> They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
> The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
> as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
> up.


TAoCP is perfectly suitable for anyone of middle school age
(approx. 12-14 years) or older who is willing to spending time
reading, re-reading, and studying the text. I am quite sure of
this because I first read TAoCP in middle school. Although I did
not understand everything, I understood the parts that I was most
interested in just fine after I studied them for some time. (The
same goes, by the way, for _Compilers: Principles, Techniques,
and Tools_.)

Anyone who is genuinely interested in computer science and
willing to put in some time and effort should study TAoCP. It is
an investment well rewarded.
--
Ben Pfaff
http://benpfaff.org
 
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Walter Roberson
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      03-10-2008
In article <fr12j6$qf$(E-Mail Removed)>,
Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>"(E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:


>> If you can cope with it I'd try Knuth's Art of Programming (volume
>> one).


>I have never, ever, been able to understand how ANYONE can recommend
>these to a beginner. They are not eminently readable at all. They are a
>classic work used for reference. They are in NO WAY suitable to
>teaching someone how to program a computer.


If I recall correctly (and I might not, it's been awhile), I read
the series quite early on in University and loved them; I would not
hesitate to recommend them to anyone who didn't faint at the sight
of an equation or a logical proposition and who wanted to know
how to program (as opposed to how to program in particular computer
languages).

There is, though, room for argument about whether I was -ever- a
"beginner" programmer
--
"No sincere artist was ever completely satisfied with his labour."
-- Walter J. Phillips
 
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Richard
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      03-10-2008
Ben Pfaff <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> [about TAoCP]
>> They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
>> The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
>> as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
>> up.

>
> TAoCP is perfectly suitable for anyone of middle school age
> (approx. 12-14 years) or older who is willing to spending time


LOL!

> reading, re-reading, and studying the text. I am quite sure of
> this because I first read TAoCP in middle school. Although I did
> not understand everything, I understood the parts that I was most
> interested in just fine after I studied them for some time. (The
> same goes, by the way, for _Compilers: Principles, Techniques,
> and Tools_.)


You are a talented person. I know seasoned programmers of many years who
cant follow these texts.

> Anyone who is genuinely interested in computer science and
> willing to put in some time and effort should study TAoCP. It is
> an investment well rewarded.


I beg to differ. I think it's undoubtedly an impressive work, but pretty
much impenetrable for the great majority of people.

I have never, ever heard anyone recommend it for new programmers
before. Especially for 12-14 year olds.


 
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user923005
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      03-11-2008
On Mar 10, 4:51*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Ben Pfaff <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> > santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> > [about TAoCP]
> >> They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
> >> The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
> >> as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
> >> up.

>
> > TAoCP is perfectly suitable for anyone of middle school age
> > (approx. 12-14 years) or older who is willing to spending time

>
> LOL!
>
> > reading, re-reading, and studying the text. *I am quite sure of
> > this because I first read TAoCP in middle school. *Although I did
> > not understand everything, I understood the parts that I was most
> > interested in just fine after I studied them for some time. *(The
> > same goes, by the way, for _Compilers: Principles, Techniques,
> > and Tools_.)

>
> You are a talented person. I know seasoned programmers of many years who
> cant follow these texts.


Name them (I've never met any computer science professional or student
that had a lot of trouble with the book [other than those who had
trouble with some of the mathematical notation, but that is not
necessary to understand the vast majority of it], and when I was going
to college a huge flock of us used it as a constant reference). It's
probably the easiest to understand book on computer science
available. I find it hard to believe that a seasoned programmer could
not understand it.

> > Anyone who is genuinely interested in computer science and
> > willing to put in some time and effort should study TAoCP. *It is
> > an investment well rewarded.

>
> I beg to differ. I think it's undoubtedly an impressive work, but pretty
> much impenetrable for the great majority of people.
>
> I have never, ever heard anyone recommend it for new programmers
> before. Especially for 12-14 year olds.


Make that two recommendations.
 
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user923005
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-11-2008
On Mar 10, 4:26*pm, Micah Cowan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> > Richard wrote:

>
> >> "(E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

>
> >>> If you can cope with it I'd try Knuth's Art of Programming (volume
> >>> one). *It takes you through a lot of detail about how computers
> >>> represent things like lists and arrays internally, and all that and
> >>> all in terms of classical computing.

>
> >> I have never, ever, been able to understand how ANYONE can recommend
> >> these to a beginner. They are not eminently readable at all. They are
> >> a classic *work used for reference. They are in NO WAY suitable to
> >> teaching someone how to program a computer.

>
> >> Technical reference, or a resource to look up some good legalize in
> >> order to dazzle the clc regulars, maybe, but a beginners reference?
> >> Come off it.

>
> > They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
> > The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
> > as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
> > up.

>
> The maths, the (obsolete) MIX assembly language (with its C-ish
> ambiguities wrt word sizes), and the mathematicians' terseness of
> language.


I have no doubt that MIX is the easiest computer language to learn in
the world.
While 9 registers is a lot, the instruction set is simpler than any
real CPU.
Like C, MIX can be terse or expressive.

> I have spent hours on a paragraph or two (of English) in some portions
> of TAOCP, trying to delve the full meaning of what Knuth is saying.


I have done that also. Merge insertion sorting was the most painful
thing for me. But I cannot imagine a simpler way to explain it. And
his snowplow for replacement selection is truly a thing of beauty.

> I love Knuth, and I love TAOCP, but I've absolutely got to agree that
> it is in no way suitable for beginners.


I used it for my 'Beginning Computer Science' course CS201 as did all
of my friends. In fact, every single person who *passed* the course
used it (there were only 20 of us left at the end of the 1st quarter).
Now, that was (I admit) in college. Still, I think that Knuth has a
beautiful, concise and correct way of explaining things. It reminds
me of the C language itself.
 
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Richard
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      03-11-2008
user923005 <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> On Mar 10, 4:51*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> Ben Pfaff <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>> > santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>> > [about TAoCP]
>> >> They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
>> >> The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
>> >> as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
>> >> up.

>>
>> > TAoCP is perfectly suitable for anyone of middle school age
>> > (approx. 12-14 years) or older who is willing to spending time

>>
>> LOL!
>>
>> > reading, re-reading, and studying the text. *I am quite sure of
>> > this because I first read TAoCP in middle school. *Although I did
>> > not understand everything, I understood the parts that I was most
>> > interested in just fine after I studied them for some time. *(The
>> > same goes, by the way, for _Compilers: Principles, Techniques,
>> > and Tools_.)

>>
>> You are a talented person. I know seasoned programmers of many years who
>> cant follow these texts.

>
> Name them (I've never met any computer science professional or student


Name them? Sorry? What?

> that had a lot of trouble with the book [other than those who had
> trouble with some of the mathematical notation, but that is not
> necessary to understand the vast majority of it], and when I was going
> to college a huge flock of us used it as a constant reference). It's
> probably the easiest to understand book on computer science


I graduated almost 20 years ago and I have never seen a more complicated
reference than Knuth. Hells Bells, its famous for being tricky to
read. But not for you eh? Good on you. You're clearly a lot cleverer
than most IMO.

> available. I find it hard to believe that a seasoned programmer could
> not understand it.


Sure. I believe you believe just that. It's not a question of just
understanding it. It's also a question of whether the time required to
follow it is worth the effort.

>
>> > Anyone who is genuinely interested in computer science and
>> > willing to put in some time and effort should study TAoCP. *It is
>> > an investment well rewarded.

>>
>> I beg to differ. I think it's undoubtedly an impressive work, but pretty
>> much impenetrable for the great majority of people.
>>
>> I have never, ever heard anyone recommend it for new programmers
>> before. Especially for 12-14 year olds.

>
> Make that two recommendations.


And a hearty "not in a million" from me. It's a reference book for
hardened tech types with a lot of time to decipher cryptic prose and
discrete notation.

For those not in the know, here's an extract of a draft:

http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/fasc1a.ps.gz

You would recommend this to a new programmer who wants to learn C?

Come off it.
 
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user923005
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-11-2008
On Mar 10, 6:56*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> user923005 <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> > On Mar 10, 4:51*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >> Ben Pfaff <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> >> > santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> >> > [about TAoCP]
> >> >> They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
> >> >> The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
> >> >> as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
> >> >> up.

>
> >> > TAoCP is perfectly suitable for anyone of middle school age
> >> > (approx. 12-14 years) or older who is willing to spending time

>
> >> LOL!

>
> >> > reading, re-reading, and studying the text. *I am quite sure of
> >> > this because I first read TAoCP in middle school. *Although I did
> >> > not understand everything, I understood the parts that I was most
> >> > interested in just fine after I studied them for some time. *(The
> >> > same goes, by the way, for _Compilers: Principles, Techniques,
> >> > and Tools_.)

>
> >> You are a talented person. I know seasoned programmers of many years who
> >> cant follow these texts.

>
> > Name them (I've never met any computer science professional or student

>
> Name them? Sorry? What?


You said: "I know seasoned programmers of many years who cant follow
these texts." and so I said, "Name them.", which is to say, "I don't
believe you." In other words, I think you made it up. So I said
'Name them' so that we can verify your claim by asking them ourselves
if it is really true.

> > that had a lot of trouble with the book [other than those who had
> > trouble with some of the mathematical notation, but that is not
> > necessary to understand the vast majority of it], and when I was going
> > to college a huge flock of us used it as a constant reference). *It's
> > probably the easiest to understand book on computer science

>
> I graduated almost 20 years ago and I have never seen a more complicated
> reference than Knuth. Hells Bells, its famous for being tricky to
> read. But not for you eh? Good on you. You're clearly a lot cleverer
> than most IMO.
>
> > available. *I find it hard to believe that a seasoned programmer could
> > not understand it.

>
> Sure. I believe you believe just that. It's not a question of just
> understanding it. It's also a question of whether the time required to
> follow it is worth the effort.


If you want to be a computer scientist, I literally can't imagine time
better spent.

> >> > Anyone who is genuinely interested in computer science and
> >> > willing to put in some time and effort should study TAoCP. *It is
> >> > an investment well rewarded.

>
> >> I beg to differ. I think it's undoubtedly an impressive work, but pretty
> >> much impenetrable for the great majority of people.

>
> >> I have never, ever heard anyone recommend it for new programmers
> >> before. Especially for 12-14 year olds.

>
> > Make that two recommendations.

>
> And a hearty "not in a million" from me. It's a reference book for
> hardened tech types with a lot of time to decipher cryptic prose and
> discrete notation.
>
> For those not in the know, here's an extract of a draft:
>
> http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/fasc1a.ps.gz
>
> You would recommend this to a new programmer who wants to learn C?


For someone who wants to understand bitwise operations, I would be
interested to see a better example.

> Come off it.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -


 
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Richard
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-11-2008
user923005 <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> On Mar 10, 6:56*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> user923005 <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>> > On Mar 10, 4:51*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> >> Ben Pfaff <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>> >> > santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>> >> > [about TAoCP]
>> >> >> They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
>> >> >> The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
>> >> >> as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
>> >> >> up.

>>
>> >> > TAoCP is perfectly suitable for anyone of middle school age
>> >> > (approx. 12-14 years) or older who is willing to spending time

>>
>> >> LOL!

>>
>> >> > reading, re-reading, and studying the text. *I am quite sure of
>> >> > this because I first read TAoCP in middle school. *Although I did
>> >> > not understand everything, I understood the parts that I was most
>> >> > interested in just fine after I studied them for some time. *(The
>> >> > same goes, by the way, for _Compilers: Principles, Techniques,
>> >> > and Tools_.)

>>
>> >> You are a talented person. I know seasoned programmers of many years who
>> >> cant follow these texts.

>>
>> > Name them (I've never met any computer science professional or student

>>
>> Name them? Sorry? What?

>
> You said: "I know seasoned programmers of many years who cant follow
> these texts." and so I said, "Name them.", which is to say, "I don't
> believe you." In other words, I think you made it up. So I said


Why would I make it up? In order to allow some arrogant arsehole like
you appear to be smarter? I don't think so somehow.

> 'Name them' so that we can verify your claim by asking them ourselves
> if it is really true.


I'm not bandying names of colleagues around here. You can believe me or
not. I don't really care.

And just to remind you, were talking about recommending texts for nOObs.

>
>> > that had a lot of trouble with the book [other than those who had
>> > trouble with some of the mathematical notation, but that is not
>> > necessary to understand the vast majority of it], and when I was going
>> > to college a huge flock of us used it as a constant reference). *It's
>> > probably the easiest to understand book on computer science

>>
>> I graduated almost 20 years ago and I have never seen a more complicated
>> reference than Knuth. Hells Bells, its famous for being tricky to
>> read. But not for you eh? Good on you. You're clearly a lot cleverer
>> than most IMO.
>>
>> > available. *I find it hard to believe that a seasoned programmer could
>> > not understand it.

>>
>> Sure. I believe you believe just that. It's not a question of just
>> understanding it. It's also a question of whether the time required to
>> follow it is worth the effort.

>
> If you want to be a computer scientist, I literally can't imagine time
> better spent.


I am a "computer scientist" .... And I can.

>
>> >> > Anyone who is genuinely interested in computer science and
>> >> > willing to put in some time and effort should study TAoCP. *It is
>> >> > an investment well rewarded.

>>
>> >> I beg to differ. I think it's undoubtedly an impressive work, but pretty
>> >> much impenetrable for the great majority of people.

>>
>> >> I have never, ever heard anyone recommend it for new programmers
>> >> before. Especially for 12-14 year olds.

>>
>> > Make that two recommendations.

>>
>> And a hearty "not in a million" from me. It's a reference book for
>> hardened tech types with a lot of time to decipher cryptic prose and
>> discrete notation.
>>
>> For those not in the know, here's an extract of a draft:
>>
>> http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/fasc1a.ps.gz
>>
>> You would recommend this to a new programmer who wants to learn C?

>
> For someone who wants to understand bitwise operations, I would be
> interested to see a better example.


You're as far detached from reality as anyone I have ever seen in
CLC. And that is saying something.

That is a formal reference. it is totally unsuitable for a nOOb wanting
to learn C IMO.

God I hope to hell you never mentor anyone. I've worked with people like
you in the past - all hot air and no trousers. Big words, no results. In
other words, and to quote you, "I don't believe you".
 
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user923005
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      03-11-2008
On Mar 10, 7:24*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> user923005 <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> > On Mar 10, 6:56*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >> user923005 <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> >> > On Mar 10, 4:51*pm, Richard <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >> >> Ben Pfaff <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> >> >> > santosh <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> >> >> > [about TAoCP]
> >> >> >> They are suitable for someone who is quite proficient with mathematics.
> >> >> >> The concepts are not difficult at all for an undergraduate or graduate,
> >> >> >> as long as he can understand the maths. That's the part where most give
> >> >> >> up.

>
> >> >> > TAoCP is perfectly suitable for anyone of middle school age
> >> >> > (approx. 12-14 years) or older who is willing to spending time

>
> >> >> LOL!

>
> >> >> > reading, re-reading, and studying the text. *I am quite sure of
> >> >> > this because I first read TAoCP in middle school. *Although I did
> >> >> > not understand everything, I understood the parts that I was most
> >> >> > interested in just fine after I studied them for some time. *(The
> >> >> > same goes, by the way, for _Compilers: Principles, Techniques,
> >> >> > and Tools_.)

>
> >> >> You are a talented person. I know seasoned programmers of many years who
> >> >> cant follow these texts.

>
> >> > Name them (I've never met any computer science professional or student

>
> >> Name them? Sorry? What?

>
> > You said: "I know seasoned programmers of many years who cant follow
> > these texts." *and so I said, "Name them.", which is to say, "I don't
> > believe you." *In other words, I think you made it up. *So I said

>
> Why would I make it up? In order to allow some arrogant arsehole like
> you appear to be smarter? I don't think so somehow.
>
> > 'Name them' so that we can verify your claim by asking them ourselves
> > if it is really true.

>
> I'm not bandying names of colleagues around here. You can believe me or
> not. I don't really care.
>
> And just to remind you, were talking about recommending texts for nOObs.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> >> > that had a lot of trouble with the book [other than those who had
> >> > trouble with some of the mathematical notation, but that is not
> >> > necessary to understand the vast majority of it], and when I was going
> >> > to college a huge flock of us used it as a constant reference). *It's
> >> > probably the easiest to understand book on computer science

>
> >> I graduated almost 20 years ago and I have never seen a more complicated
> >> reference than Knuth. Hells Bells, its famous for being tricky to
> >> read. But not for you eh? Good on you. You're clearly a lot cleverer
> >> than most IMO.

>
> >> > available. *I find it hard to believe that a seasoned programmer could
> >> > not understand it.

>
> >> Sure. I believe you believe just that. It's not a question of just
> >> understanding it. It's also a question of whether the time required to
> >> follow it is worth the effort.

>
> > If you want to be a computer scientist, I literally can't imagine time
> > better spent.

>
> I am a "computer scientist" .... And I can.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> >> >> > Anyone who is genuinely interested in computer science and
> >> >> > willing to put in some time and effort should study TAoCP. *It is
> >> >> > an investment well rewarded.

>
> >> >> I beg to differ. I think it's undoubtedly an impressive work, but pretty
> >> >> much impenetrable for the great majority of people.

>
> >> >> I have never, ever heard anyone recommend it for new programmers
> >> >> before. Especially for 12-14 year olds.

>
> >> > Make that two recommendations.

>
> >> And a hearty "not in a million" from me. It's a reference book for
> >> hardened tech types with a lot of time to decipher cryptic prose and
> >> discrete notation.

>
> >> For those not in the know, here's an extract of a draft:

>
> >>http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/fasc1a.ps.gz

>
> >> You would recommend this to a new programmer who wants to learn C?

>
> > For someone who wants to understand bitwise operations, I would be
> > interested to see a better example.

>
> You're as far detached from reality as anyone I have ever seen in
> CLC. And that is saying something.
>
> That is a formal reference. it is totally unsuitable for a nOOb wanting
> to learn C IMO.
>
> God I hope to hell you never mentor anyone. I've worked with people like
> you in the past - all hot air and no trousers. Big words, no results. In
> other words, and to quote you, "I don't believe you".- Hide quoted text -


I taught C at Olympic College in Bremerton Washington, and several of
my students told me that I was the best teacher they ever had.
 
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