The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 0: Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and Boolean Functions by Donald E. Knuth

The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 0: Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and…

byDonald E. Knuth

Paperback | April 17, 2008

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Finally, after a wait of more than thirty-five years, the first part of Volume 4 is at last ready for publication. Check out the boxed set that brings together Volumes 1 - 4A in one elegant case, and offers the purchaser a $50 discount off the price of buying the four volumes individually.


The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-4A Boxed Set, 3/e

ISBN: 0321751043 




 Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 0, The: Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and Boolean Functions: Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and Boolean Functions


This multivolume work on the analysis of algorithms has long been recognized as the definitive description of classical computer science. The three complete volumes published to date already comprise a unique and invaluable resource in programming theory and practice. Countless readers have spoken about the profound personal influence of Knuth’s writings. Scientists have marveled at the beauty and elegance of his analysis, while practicing programmers have successfully applied his “cookbook” solutions to their day-to-day problems. All have admired Knuth for the breadth, clarity, accuracy, and good humor found in his books.

To begin the fourth and later volumes of the set, and to update parts of the existing three, Knuth has created a series of small books called fascicles, which will be published at regular intervals. Each fascicle will encompass a section or more of wholly new or revised material. Ultimately, the content of these fascicles will be rolled up into the comprehensive, final versions of each volume, and the enormous undertaking that began in 1962 will be complete.

Volume 4, Fascicle 0

This fascicle introduces what will become by far the longest chapter in The Art of Computer Programming, a chapter on combinatorial algorithms that will itself fill three full-sized volumes. Combinatorial algorithms, informally, are techniques for the high-speed manipulation of extremely large quantities of objects, such as permutations or the elements of graphs. Combinatorial patterns or arrangements solve vast numbers of practical problems, and modern approaches to dealing with them often lead to methods that are more than a thousand times faster than the straightforward procedures of yesteryear. This fascicle primes the pump for everything that follows in the chapter, discussing first the essential ideas of combinatorics and then introducing fundamental ideas for dealing efficiently with 0s and 1s inside a machine, including Boolean basics and Boolean function evaluation. As always, the author’s exposition is enhanced by hundreds of new exercises, arranged carefully for self-instruction, together with detailed answers.

About The Author

Donald E. Knuth is known throughout the world for his pioneering work on algorithms and programming techniques, for his invention of the TeX and Metafont systems for computer typesetting, and for his prolific and influential writing. Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University, he currently devotes his...

Details & Specs

Title:The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 0: Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and…Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.4 × 6.4 × 0.7 inPublished:April 17, 2008Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0321534964

ISBN - 13:9780321534965

Customer Reviews of The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4, Fascicle 0: Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and Boolean Functions


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Read from the Book

To put all the good stuff into one book is patently impossible, and attempting even to be reasonably comprehensive about certain aspects of the subject is likely to lead to runaway growth. GERALD B. FOLLAND "Editor's Corner" (2005) La dernière chose qu'on trouve en faisant un ouvrage est de savoir celle qu'il faut mettre la première. BLAISE PASCAL, Pensées 740 (c. 1660) This booklet is Fascicle 0 of The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 4: Combinatorial Algorithms. As explained in the preface to Fascicle 1 of Volume 1, I'm circulating the material in this preliminary form because I know that the task of completing Volume 4 will take many years; I can't wait for people to begin reading what I've written so far and to provide valuable feedback. To put the material in context, this fascicle contains the opening sections intended to launch a long, long chapter on combinatorial algorithms. Chapter 7 is planned to be by far the longest single chapter of The Art of Computer Programming; it will eventually fill at least three volumes (namely Volumes 4A, 4B, and 4C), assuming that I'm able to remain healthy. Like the second-longest chapter (Chapter 5), it begins with pump-priming introductory material that comes before the main text, including dozens of exercises to get the ball rolling. A long voyage lies ahead, and some important provisions need to be brought on board before we embark. Furthermore I want to minimize the shock of transition between Chapter 6 and the new chapter, because Chapter 6 was originally written and published more than thirty years ago. Chapter 7 proper begins with Section 7.1: Zeros and Ones, which is another sort of introduction, at a different level. It dives into the all-important topics that surround the study of Boolean functions, which essentially underly everything that computers do. Subsection 7.1.1, "Boolean basics," attempts to erect a solid foundation of theoretical and practical ideas on which we shall build significant superstructures later; subsection 7.1.2, "Boolean evaluation," considers how to compute Boolean functions with maximum efficiency. The remaining parts of Section 7.1--namely 7.1.3, "Bitwise tricks and techniques," and 7.1.4, "Binary decision diagrams"--will be published soon as Volume 4, Fascicle 1. Then comes Section 7.2, Generating All Possibilities; the fascicles for Section 7.2.1, "Generating basic combinatorial patterns," have already appeared in print. Section 7.2.2 will deal with backtracking in general. And so it will go on, if all goes well; an outline of the entire Chapter 7 as currently envisaged appears on the taocp webpage that is cited on page ii. These introductory sections have turned out to have more than twice as many exercises as I had originally planned. In fact, the total number of exercises in this fascicle (366) is almost unbelievable. But many of them are quite simple, intended to reinforce the reader's understanding of basic definitions, or to acquaint readers with the joys of The Stanford GraphBase. Other exercises were simply irresistible, as they cried out to be included here--although, believe it or not, I did reject more potential leads than I actually followed up. I would like to express my indebtedness to the late Robert W Floyd, who made dozens of valuable suggestions when I asked him to look over the first draft of this material in 1977. Thanks also to Robin Wilson of the Open University for his careful reading and many detailed suggestions; and to hundreds of readers who provided fantastic feedback on early drafts that circulated on the Internet. I shall happily pay a finder's fee of $2.56 for each error in this fascicle when it is first reported to me, whether that error be typographical, technical, or historical. The same reward holds for items that I forgot to put in the index. And valuable suggestions for improvements to the text are worth 32¢ each. (Furthermore, if you find a better solution to an exercise, I'll actually reward you with immortal glory instead of mere money, by publishing your name in the eventual book:-) Notations that are used here and not otherwise explained can be found in the Index to Notations at the end of Volumes 1, 2, or 3. Those indexes point to the places where further information is available. (See also the entries under "Notation" in the present booklet.) Of course Volume 4 will some day contain its own Index to Notations. Machine-language examples in all future editions of The Art of Computer Programming will be based on the MMIX computer, which is described in Volume 1, Fascicle 1. Cross references to yet-unwritten material sometimes appear as '00' in the following pages; this impossible value is a placeholder for the actual numbers to be supplied later. Happy reading! D. E. K. Stanford, CaliforniaJanuary 2008

Table of Contents

Chapter 7—Combinatorial Searching    1
7.1. Zeros and Ones    47
    7.1.1. Boolean Basics    47
    7.1.2. Boolean Evaluation    96
Answers to Exercises    134
Index and Glossary    201