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Book Review: Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

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etury484
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bookmarks
etury484   10/14/2016 1:31:18 PM
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Please use a bookmark. Dog earring is book abuse.

spike_johan
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Re: bookmarks
spike_johan   10/17/2016 6:31:18 PM
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@etury484

I take a subtle but distinctly contrary position to your statement.

First, parse technical books from literature.

Yes, dog-earing books of the literature flavor is not kind, it's wrong, it's defacing, and at the very least reduces the value of the book (should you wish to preserve, trade or sell it).

Technical books are different. You may dog-ear, make pencil notes within, in short do anything that facilitates the most rapid re-acquistion of information.

However, breaking the spine on any book or defacing the cover should be punishable in the harshest manner possible.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: bookmarks
Max The Magnificent   10/24/2016 1:32:37 PM
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@etury: Please use a bookmark. Dog earring is book abuse.

The problem is that I would end up with so many bookmarks that the book would look like a porcupine. I certainly wouldn't fold the pages of a book loaned to me by a friend -- or from a library -- or if it was old and valuable -- but in the case of books I've purchased for my own edification, delectation, and delight, I reserve the right to use and abuse them as I wish :-)

perl_geek
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Re: bookmarks
perl_geek   10/24/2016 2:33:29 PM
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Little Post-It tabs are your friend.

(If you're careful about trade-show swag, they may even not cost you anything.)

markino
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Algorithms to Live By
markino   10/14/2016 1:32:00 PM
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I'm not sure if this algorithm is in the book, but years ago I found one in a paper about running computerized factories. I don't remember the paper, the author, or much else in the paper, but the algorithm for how a robot or computer selects what work to do stuck with me:

Do what you were designed to do.

Do what is immediately necessary.

Do something.

It's easy to slip into doing the second step first; but, that often causes everyone to overfunction and try to do each other's jobs.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Algorithms to Live By
Max The Magnificent   10/24/2016 1:34:30 PM
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@markino: ...the algorithm for how a robot or computer selects what work to do stuck with me...

Very interesting -- thanks for sharing

spike_johan
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It better be good :)
spike_johan   10/17/2016 6:39:34 PM
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Max: I liked your recommendation so I just ordered a copy.

PS - Before my move from NC to Washington, DC I reduced my library to the essentials (the re-readables). I went from maybe 2000 books to 600.

When I moved to Mexico 4 years ago I gave my 4 handbuilt (by me) bookcases - with the remaining 600 or so books - to my daughter.

I am now reduced to eBooks.

Sad, but I am learning to live with it.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: It better be good :)
Max The Magnificent   10/24/2016 1:24:58 PM
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@spike: I liked your recommendation so I just ordered a copy.

I would very much like to hear your thoughts once you've had a chance to read it.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: It better be good :)
Max The Magnificent   10/24/2016 1:29:10 PM
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@spike: ...I am now reduced to eBooks...

When we moved from our last ghouse the the current one -- I went through all of my books one-by-one and only kept the ones I thought I might one day read again -- the rest went to friends or charity.

Now after a finish a book I look at it and think "will I ever want to re-read this" -- even if the book is good, if I don't think I will re-read it (or use it as a reference) I give it away.

But I still prefer reading a real paper book (call me "old fashioned" if you will)

 

alex_m1
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Re: It better be good :)
alex_m1   10/26/2016 12:38:39 PM
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>> Now after a finish a book I look at it and think "will I ever want to re-read this" 

 

Max, this seems like a good criteria for non-fiction. Did find something else that correlates with that, to help you find such books ? 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: It better be good :)
Max The Magnificent   10/26/2016 12:42:11 PM
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@alex: Max, this seems like a good criteria for non-fiction. Did find something else that correlates with that, to help you find such books?

Sometimes friends recommend books -- also I look at the ones reviewed in things like Scientific American, Discovery Magazine, Time, and so forth.

 

antedeluvian
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Re: It better be good :)
antedeluvian   10/26/2016 1:08:09 PM
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Max

also I look at the ones reviewed in things like Scientific American, Discovery Magazine, Time, and so forth.

Do you subscribe, or do you browse at bookstores and the  dentist's office?

Max The Magnificent
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Re: It better be good :)
Max The Magnificent   10/26/2016 1:45:00 PM
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@antedeluvian: Do you subscribe, or do you browse at bookstores and the  dentist's office?

I subscribe to Scientific American and Discover Magazine (and Reader's Digest :-)  I used to subscribe to Time, but I didn;t have the time to read it LOL

alex_m1
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Re: It better be good :)
alex_m1   10/26/2016 1:17:11 PM
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Max, Thanks. 

So you don't mix with the rif-raf, i.e. Amazon reviewers ? 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: It better be good :)
Max The Magnificent   10/26/2016 1:47:23 PM
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@alex: So you don't mix with the rif-raf, i.e. Amazon reviewers ?

What are you talking about -- I am the riff-raff LOL  In addition to posting reviews on Amazon myself, I always check the reviews there -- so even if I saw what appeared to be an interesting book in Scientific American, if the Amazon reviews are low then I tend to pass it by.

perl_geek
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The decline of "Scientific American"
perl_geek   10/27/2016 12:12:58 PM
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Is it my imagination, or has the quality of "Scientific American" declined sadly over recent years?

It used to be at about the smart undergraduate level, academic papers illustrated and edited for clarity, (rather than "profundity through obscurity"). Now it's closer to the politically correct media consensus.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: The decline of "Scientific American"
Max The Magnificent   10/27/2016 12:16:54 PM
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@perl_geek: ...has the quality of "Scientific American" declined sadly over recent years?...

Hard to say -- I just look at the pictures LOL

I guess you might be right, but I don;t have any problems with it the way it is -- I use it as just one more way to keep my finger on the pulse of what's happening out there in the big wide world.

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: The decline of "Scientific American"
Max The Magnificent   10/27/2016 12:18:29 PM
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@perl_geek: ..."profundity through obscurity"...

Oooh -- I'll be using that myself before long LOL

alex_m1
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Re: It better be good :)
alex_m1   10/26/2016 1:17:12 PM
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Max, Thanks. 

So you don't mix with the rif-raf, i.e. Amazon reviewers ? 

perl_geek
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Algorithms to Live By
perl_geek   10/24/2016 2:26:55 PM
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Thanks for a very enjoyable reference. The explanation of the paradoxical "buffer bloat" problem was particularly good. (Sometimes, though not very often, more memory is not better.)

It's rather sobering how much of the subject has emerged since I first encountered it, (and decided it didn't have a lot to do with producing commercial software).

I'm not sure how many of the algorithms are actually worth implementing in real life, (most of the situations don't crop up that often), but it's a good layman's guide to what "computer science" is really about. It's a branch of mathematics made tolerable by the fact that machines can do the grunt work. (Mathematicians don't generally like doing arithmetic much. Mere "tapster's reckoning" is for accountants.) I'd definitely recommend the book to a prospective CS student to give them an idea of what the field entails.

 

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