A math book that's actually fun to read . . .

Essential Background for Every Programmer or Analyst

R. Garnier & J. Taylor: Discrete Mathematics for New Technology, 1992, Adam Hilger, 670 pages, ISBN 0-7503 0135 X
(also Third edition, 2020, 840 pages, ISBN 978 1439812808)

Reviewed by Conrad Weisert, November, 2010


A dozen years ago I was preparing to teach a course in "Logic and Boolean Algebra for Computer Science majors". I looked around for a suitable textbook, and found this gem. It's understandable and comprehensive.

The chapters in the first edition are:
  1. Logic
  2. Mathematical Proof
  3. Sets
  4. Relations
  5. Functions
  6. Matrix Algebra
  1. Systems of Linear Equations
  2. Algebraic Structures
  3. Boolean Algebra
  4. Graph Theory
  5. Applications of Graph Theory

That's much more than we could cover in a one-semester undergraduate course, of course, but chapters 1-5 and 9 were perfect. The students loved it.

These days we're often surprised by encountering practicing professionals who lack mastery of or even acquaintance with those topics. Do we want such people to specify, design, or build our critical applications?

In addition to being a suitable textbook for an academic course, this book is well suited to self-study by programmers or systems analysts who need to fill in gaps in their background. It's also an easy-to-read refresher for those of us who learned these concepts a long time ago.

Very highly recommended


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Last modified October 30, 2010