basic algorithms

The book is my primary source of interest while being a freshman, which presents a wide range of algorithms in a very coherent and systematic way. I remember “rescuing” this hard-copy from a Fahasa‘s junk pile for about 4 USD, which from that time on became a student’s most precious thing! You can read the soft-copy here.

I started with with C/C++ at school, then continue with C/C++, Java, Design Patterns… on various projects. Later I abandoned Design Patterns (and Java), then I abandoned C++. To me there’s no Design Patterns, there’s only data structures and algorithms! Would write another post on the bloating and non-sense usages of Design Patterns later on!

It seems that most software engineers today lack fundamental knowledges and skills. It’s quite apparent that you could not rely on a guy talking about architecture, GoF’s design patterns… all the time but can not state the algorithmic differences between a DFS (depth first search) and a BFS (breadth first search).

his is among the subjects I was very fascinated the early years at university: algorithms, graph theory, geometry, image processing… I was not quite good at “symbolic” math (like algebra), but “visual” math offered me much inspiration. The thing I would remember most is Robert Sedgewick‘s Algorithms, a book that I’ve read through over and over again many many times. It is indeed the most important Computer Science textbook that beginners MUST read until today.

The Java applet below is “refurbished” from the code I wrote the first year at college, which visualizes the nature of different sorting algorithms (original code was written in Borland C++ 3.1 with BGI – Borland Graphics Interface). This is among my various attempts to visualize the knowledge collected from the book, which had taught me that even a simple thing like “bubble sort” is not that “very simple”! Let select an algorithm in the dropdown list and click ‘Start’ and see the differences!

My visualizations above are very early (1997), much prior to those demonstrations on wiki. Later on, I’d learned that the author R.Sedgewick put a great emphasis on algorithms’ visualizing himself, his work used PostScript. Many new ways of visualization are really impressive and easy to understand, such as this (using JavaScript).

Leave a Reply