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Programming challenges : the programming contest training manual
Skiena S., Revilla M., Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., Secaucus, NJ, 2003. 368 pp.  Type: Book (9780387001630)
Date Reviewed: Nov 3 2003

This book is a delight for anyone who appreciates good problems, or who has an interest in problem solving, data structures, or algorithms.

Fourteen chapters are included in the book, each of which deals with a different category of problems and algorithms. Within each chapter is a survey of the category of problems and the algorithms to solve them, followed by several problems in the category that have appeared in various programming contests. There are also hints and notes on the various problems.

Programming contest team members can use this book as a trainer. Solutions in C, C++, or Java can be submitted to two separate Web-based robotic judges that can return an evaluation of the solution submitted. The book itself contains over 100 problems, and there are many more problems available on the Web sites of the judging programs.

Yielding a rich variety of mathematics, algorithmic methods, and data structuring challenges, the problems themselves are wonderful. Each problem is rated as to popularity, level, and solution success rate to guide the teacher and the student in the selection and ordering of problem attempts.

The book can also be used as a supplement to an algorithms text. It provides the opportunity to fill in implementation details, and also sheds light on some algorithmic categories not usually covered by standard algorithms texts. It also comes with a Web site for a course management environment that reportedly makes it easy to manage a course using the book.

This is a book for either steady reading or for browsing. Anyone with an interest in problem solving will find rich rewards from time spent with it.

Reviewer:  A. M. Tenenbaum Review #: CR128487 (0402-0149)
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