Computer science: a mathematical introduction Lew A., Prentice-Hall, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1985. Type: Book (9789780131642522)

Date Reviewed: Jul 1 1986

The subtitle of this text is “Applied Mathematics: Modelling, Analysis and Optimization Techniques with Applications to Software Systems.” It is dedicated to Richard Bellman and carries on in his tradition; however, as the author points out in his Preface, this book has “breadth, albeit at the expense of depth.” This has a tendency to make the book read like an encyclopedia in places. The book has enough material for a full-year course at the junior/senior level. The book has a good, three-level Table of Contents; only the top level is presented here:

(1) Basic Concepts.

(2) Algebraic Systems.

(3) Applications--Numerical and Non-Numerical Computation.

(4) Digraphs and Trees.

(5) Applications--Algorithms and Formal Computation.

(6) Elements of Probability and Statistics.

(7) Applications--Information Structures.

(8) Optimization and Dynamic Programming.

(9) Applications--Operating Systems.

I think I’d enjoy teaching a course from this book and that students would enjoy reading this book. It is well written, and has a good layout, typography, and nice figures. It has numerous exercises of good quality, a good bibliography, a good index, and many interesting applications. In his Postscript, the author speaks truly: “We have covered a wealth of material in this book.”

Three of the top texts in this area are [1], [2], and [3]. [1] and [2] are for junior/senior level; [3] is for the senior/first-year graduate level.

If I were going to teach a junior/senior-level course surveying the applications of mathematics in computer science this term, I’d probably choose Lew’s text. However, I’d supplement it with extra handouts in two areas: (1) combinatorics and enumeration, and (2) switching and logic circuits.