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am 7. Juni 2000
Perl is a great language which I have used every single day since Perl 3, but it is not the ideal tool for testing algorithms & their speed. While the algorithm ideas are applicable to any language, the Perl code is not portable (specially with Perl's particular syntaxis). This book tries to be like "Numerical Recipes for C" but falls short on both subject matter. If you are an average to decent Perl Hacker, the material in this book will still be useless to you and probably put you to sleep quickly since you \won't get it. If, on the other hand, you are math student or scientist, the book will also have make you yawn, since you'll have already seen the examples before and in a much more clear & portable language: C.
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am 18. Dezember 1999
After reading rave reviews about this book all over the net, I decided to check it out. I found it a bit disappointing for several reasons. First, there appear to be type setting errors that are distracting. For example, there are sections with example code with text that follows, only the text that follows appears to be introducing the next code snippet, but is actually describing the snippet above (off by 1 error?) Indeed the final code snippet in a section has no following explanatory text.
This is only a problem early on though because as the book progresses, the authors stop describing the code examples! In fact, I found myself trying to figure out what the text was doing in the chapters since all of the concepts were explained in code (without full explanations in the text). <this is a minor exaggeration>
In addition, I found the unrelated annecdotes and allusions and obscure literary quotes a further distraction. I'm sure there is a certain academic audience that would appreciate this, but I hate having to look up words only to find out I didn't really need to look them up ;-).
Some other things I disliked were the absence of hashes in the data structures section (perl has built in hashes, so you'd think a discussion on what a hash is, and hashing algorithms would be included in a perl algorithms book), and the description of algorithm analysis was too short.
On the up side, the sorting and searching sections are very thorough (the perl code implementing them, not the text explaining the code), as are the other sections. If its perl your after, this book has some of the best perl code in print (save for Joseph Hall's "Effective Perl").
In summary, if you already understand these topics, then this book will show you some excellent perl code to implement them. If you do not understand the data structures and algorithms already, I don't think this book is going to make them crystal clear (though the authors are good about referring the reader to other sources).
4 camels for the high quality perl code and thoroughness, but it could have been 5 if the authors followed through with the type of supporting text that Hall did in EP.
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am 28. Oktober 1999
When I heard that O'Reilly was publishing a book on Algorithms in Perl I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Well last month I did and it was great!

The clearly written text contains the usual light, easy-reading tone and occasional humorous elements found in most O'Reilly books. The authors include plenty of pictures and diagrams for those who learn visually (rather then by reciting words out loud). The Perl code within is concise, with comments when necessary, and makes use of the objects when possible. If you plan to read this book you should know Perl because the more advanced level of the code could cause problems for the non-Perl or beginning Perl Programmer. However, to a Perl programmer who is comfortable with the language the code reads clean and understandably - sometimes it's even more clear then pseudocode.

The text covers a broad range of topics (with varying levels of complexity). When I was reading I recalled things I learned in college classes such as: Data Structures, Algorithm Analysis, Discrete Math, Calculous, Linear Algebra, Statistics, Compiler Design, Signal Processing, and even some good old fashion high school geometry. I found this extremely helpful because the broad nature of the book doesn't allow the authors to cover a topic in great detail. They do review each topic area giving the proper terminology used along with background of how the field developed.

Within the different chapters the authors present various code segments. For some segments the authors have written there own code to implement the algorithms. In other cases, as is Perl custom, the authors have searched CPAN for the modules that implement the algorithm. Then the example code demonstrates the proper use of that module.

One of the features I really enjoyed is that each chapter can stand on its own as a nice review of the algorithms in that section. (In cases where they build on other sections you are reminded where to go and read.) Another great feature the authors include is the references - all the web sites and books you'll need are listed in Appendix A, by topic area.

The only thing I really felt was missing was a discussion on some AI topics such as Neural Networks and Genetic Programming. (If you're interesting Neural Networks in general check out The Linux Journal July 1999 p 44. For Genetic Programming in Perl check out The Perl Journal Fall 1999 p 34)

Overall, this book explains methods of implementing Algorithms with Perl blending custom techniques with resources available (CPAN) in a "learn by example" approach. It contains 16 great chapters of background, theory, sample code, diagrams, and discussion. It has a good Appendix A (for additional info on algorithms) and a useful ASCII table in Appendix B. If you want to learn good ways to implement specific Algorithms with Perl - Read this book!
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am 5. Februar 2000
Using perl to implement data structures and algorithms is kind of a laughable concept. Perl was designed specifically so that users wouldn't have to deal with this sort of thing. Algorithms written in perl are much less portable than algorthms written in a more low level language, and perl's built in data types are so powerful that they make the construction of user defined types unnecessary. Not to mention the fact that perl does so much behind your back that unless you go rooting through source code it is impossible to get truly accurate time complexity analysis of algorithms implemented in perl. If you are looking for a good algorithm book, check out Corman's Introduction to Algorithms. If you are looking for a good perl book, check out Programming Perl. If you are looking for a book that will tell you how to do a bunch of weird stuff with perl, check out Conway's Object Oriented Perl. But perl and hardcore algorithm study have never mixed, and god knows they shouldn't.
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am 9. September 1999
"Mastering Algorithms with Perl" is one of the most apt-named books that I have ever read, beaming the entire spectrum of algorithms through the prism of Perl to yield insightful, useful, and atypically functional examples. Jon, Jarkko, and John have done for algorithms what Jeffrey Friedl did for regular expressions and Hal Stern did for NFS and NIS, give the reader a solid reference into the inner workings of often-used but rarely mastered concepts. The chapter on cryptography sticks in my mind, with a footnote referencing Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and a warning to those checking for bad passwords. I recommend that this book should be on the shelf (if not the desk) of anyone whose field of work intersects Perl and moderate-to-high level mathematics.
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am 3. März 2000
If you are a good perl programmer, but you are not familiar with algorithms: This book os for you. If you want to see excellent usage of advanced and efficient futures of perl: This book is for you. You have to be quite familiar with perl before reading this book. The best thing about the book is, the chapters are independent from each other. The only flaw in this book is; even though the book is quite thick it is not possible to cover all the topics in the book. It should have been written as two volumes. I really enjoyed reading this book.
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am 7. November 1999
There's something here for everyone from the novice to very experienced Perl users. It starts with the basics and builds very, very rapidly into complicated ideas without losing coherence. Most of the material is not what the casual user will ever need to use, but not above the understanding of casual users either, if you are looking at more complex projects or want to learn more. Good detail on sorting, complex data structures, higher math functions, and several other areas. This book is the jump to lightspeed as far as Perl resources go.
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