7 December 2021

Reading "Concrete Mathematics": Intro

What's it all about

The following texts are the free-style notes I am writing along with reading the book Concrete Mathematics (2nd edition) by the authors Ronald L. Graham, Donald E. Knuth, and Oren Patashnik.


I expect this book may be tough for reading and understanding because this is the type of comment I had met about it. One of the co-authors of Concrete Mathematics is Donald Knuth, known for the Art of Computer Programming: a foundational computer science work, not the easiest one to comprehend, especially for a non-prepared reader. So I expect that even a more basic book co-authored with D. Knuth would require effort to get through. Especially I'm dreading the exercises!

On the other side, mathematics fascinates me. If the book's prerequisites aren't too demanding, I hope to find thought-treasures in it.


Hmm, so, according to the preface, it looks like Concrete Mathematics and the lectures it was born from cover the topics I'm more accustomed to being called discrete mathematics (but with a tint of continuity). And this sounds like really good news since I had spent my share of time digging into this domain.


Hopefully, this would make Concrete Mathematics more approachable for me and even, as promised by the authors, make it a tale of mathematical beauty and surprise.

From the typography perspective, I'd like to praise a chic approach to providing citations and side-notes. They're located in the margins beside the main body of text, enriching and savoring it.

Aha! Here it is, the most horrifying truth is revealed closer to the end of the preface: This book contains more than 500 exercises. This is going to be a bumpy ride for sure 🎢

Let's roll!

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