REVIEW - The Art of Computer Programming - Generating all trees : history of combinatorial generation


The Art of Computer Programming

Generating all trees : history of combinatorial generation


Donald Ervin Knuth



Addison-Wesley Professional (2006)




Francis Glassborow


August 2006



This is another part of volume four of The Art of Computer Programming . This latest fascicle (by the way, at the time of writing I am not aware of the publication of fascicle 1 of this volume. The fascicle 1 you may see in your local bookstore/ shop is for volume 1) covers the generation of all trees. Closer examination revealed another aspect of this curious way of dragging text out of a perfectionist author (The author has been working half a lifetime on this volume and still has volume 5 to come). You cannot simply put the fascicles together and get the finished volume because each fascicle has a coherent extract from the projected work but not consecutive. This fascicle refers back to earlier fascicles.

If you know Donald Knuth's work, you do not need me to tell you of its authority and readability. The author is without doubt one of the leading figures of the computer world and has been for over 30 years. The earlier volumes have stood the test of time, though they have been revised and updated.

If you do not know The Art of Computer Programming this is not the place to start, get the first three volumes and study them carefully. You will then be ready to dip into the fourth volume either via the drafts on the web or by getting the fascicles as they become available. It is probably unwise to wait for the completed volume as this writer has grown old waiting and has had his hopes raised several times over the last decade.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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