gregbo (gregbo) wrote,

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So, continuing in the vein of the last entry, I just can't grasp the practicality of memorizing algorithms. There's TOO MANY of them. I think it is useful to understand what each can be used for, and when it is appropriate to use them. But I don't see why anyone should go to the trouble of memorizing algorithms when there are zillions of references, both off- and online, that are available if someone needs the pseudocode or an implementation.

For example, Cormen's algorithms text has over 1000 pages. Knuth's texts consist of three volumes (plus some new sections). There are other algorithms books that get decent reviews, such as Aho's and Baase's. Beyond that, there are books that deal in specialized algorithms, such as Lynch's or Bertsekas' for distributed and parallel computation. I haven't even touched all of the books with algorithms written in specific languages, such as Sedgewick's.

And let's get real here. We're talking about Google, which can (and should) be used to reference information that is available on the web. I just don't buy that because of "chaos", people need to be able to quote some algorithm by heart. As I understand it, all the offices are enabled with fast wireless LANs, and people can get computers when they need them, so if there is a need for a quick lookup of an algorithm, it's only a few keystrokes away for any Googler.

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