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Re: Algorithms-HOWTO draft 0, take 2

Andrew P Moise <moise+@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

 > Awright, thanks to Marc and Greg, I've turned the Algorithms-HOWTO
 > into barely renderable Docbook, and it's available as HTML at
 > http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~moise/algorithms-howto/.

I refrained from commenting earlier because I only had bad things to
say.  It seemed pointless to me to have an Algorithms HowTo given that
there are lots of excellent textbooks (Aho, Hopcroft & Ullman being my
favorite, Knuth being a comprehensive reference on what he covers) and
I couldn't imagine anyone writing a HowTo which is even competitive
with the standard texts.

It also lies out of the realm of documentation and as such is somewhat
more controversial.  For example, different people have different
beliefs as to which hash table technique is better to use in a given
situation, as well as whether hash tables or balanced trees are
preferable.  There are also lots of sticky little points regarding the
implementation of these things which can have a major impact on how
well they actually perform.

The only advantage I can think of in having a is having a free version
of such a textbook, but there already are free ones available, as in
http://hissa.nist.gov/dads/, http://www.epaperpress.com/s_man.html,
and http://www.mich.com/~serenget/source/, to point out a few I found
through google & yahoo.

You can see how negative this is, which is why I avoided bringing it
up.  I felt that if you want to go write such a thing, you should go
ahead and do it - you don't need my approval so I shouldn't bring up
my own objections.

I'm only bringing up these objections now because, looking at your
document reminded me of something I think really *would* be important
& useful - namely a Linux programming guide to these algorithms.  This
wouldn't be a document about the algorithms & data structures
themselves, but a document explaining *where* the libraries are which
implement each of said algorithms, *how* to use them, and details
about their implementations.

For example, sorting & searching should point out & detail the unix
sort command, qsort in libc, sort in guile, Tcl, ....  The section on
hash tables could point to the implementations available in Tcl, scm,

This is something that could potentially help lots of people make much
better use of what currently exists, rather than just telling everyone
enough to go and do it themselves.

Harvey Stein
Bloomberg LP

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