Book: Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing, Second Edition
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Our aim in writing the original edition of Numerical Recipes was to provide abook that combined general discussion, analytical mathematics, algorithmics, andactual working programs. The success of the first edition puts us now in a difficult,though hardly unenviable, position. We wanted, then and now, to write a bookthat is informal, fearlessly editorial, unesoteric, and above all useful. There is adanger that, if we are not careful, we might produce a second edition that is weighty,balanced, scholarly, and boring.It is a mixed blessing that we know more now than we did six years ago. Then,we were making educated guesses, based on existing literature and our own research,about which numerical techniqueswere themost important and robust. Now, we havethe benefit of direct feedback froma large reader community. Letters to our alter-egoenterprise, Numerical Recipes Software, are in the thousands per year. (Please, don’ttelephone us.) Our post office box has become a magnet for letters pointing outthat we have omitted some particular technique, well known to be important in aparticular field of science or engineering. We value such letters, and digest themcarefully, especially when they point us to specific references in the literature.The inevitable result of this input is that this Second Edition of NumericalRecipes is substantially larger than its predecessor, in fact about 50% larger both inwords and number of included programs (the latter now numbering well over 300).“Don’t let the book grow in size,” is the advice that we received from several wisecolleagues. We have tried to follow the intended spirit of that advice, even as weviolate the letter of it. We have not lengthened, or increased in difficulty, the book’sprincipal discussions of mainstream topics. Many new topics are presented at thissame accessible level. Some topics, both from the earlier edition and new to thisone, are now set in smaller type that labels them as being “advanced.” The readerwho ignores such advanced sections completely will not, we think, find any lack ofcontinuity in the shorter volume that results.