How do computers work? What is a well-crafted code? How do you write an algorithm? Ana Bell, the lecturer in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, chooses the best books to learn computer science and programming. In this article, we will talk about the best computer science books that are really great.
Every subject has its required reading, and Best Computer Science Books is no different. As with any area of study, Computer Science has a history, various processes, and enough differing opinions to fill a library with the Best Computer Science Books.
For this list, we’ve found the Top 10 Must-Read Best Computer Science Books for Computer Science Majors. The books on this list run the gamut, from biographies of industry legends to book-length love letters to the earliest computers to how-tos. While the Best Computer Science Booksthemselves vary dramatically, each book on this list is a classic, has remained a timeless addition to the constantly changing field of Computer Science, and reflects the love any successful Computer Science major should feel towards his chosen skill.
1. Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions
Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
As every busy college student knows, our lives are constantly being constrained by limited time and space — what should be accomplished in a day? What is okay to leave undone in a lifetime? How much messiness and disorganization is an acceptable amount? In Algorithms to Live By, author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths describe how simple, yet precise, algorithms like those used by computers can also untangle important human questions. In fascinating chapter after fascinating chapter, the two explain everything from how to have better gut feelings, to knowing when to leave things to chance, to dealing with an overwhelming number of choices, to figuring out how to best communicate with others.
2. The Soul of a New Machine
Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine is one of the few Best Computer Science Books about the world of Computer Science. First published in 1981, Kidder’s classic remains one of the most highly regarded books about computers to ever hit the shelves. The Soul of a New Machine carefully recounts the drama, comedy, and excitement of the early years of computers, at the time when there was but one company making the effort to bring a new microcomputer to the mass market. Computer Science majors will also appreciate the go-for-broke approach to business that is only briefly referenced here but has become an approach that so many high-tech companies still maintain.
4. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution Best Computer Science Books
Still considered required reading by some, Steven Levy’s “Hackers” was written long before the idea of hacking took on such a negative connotation. The titular hackers include everyone from Steve Jobs to Bill Gates (before they were the icons we know now), and even the lesser-known Slug Russell and Lee Felsenstein, both of whom played an important role in the development of the personal computer. While Hackers is mostly a look at industry history, Best Computer Science Books Computer Science majors will love the charmingly optimistic Hacker Ethic, which includes such noble concepts as “Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not criteria such as degrees, age, race, sex, or position;” “Computers can change your life for the better;” “All information should be free;” and “You can create art and beauty on a computer.”
5. Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software
In Code, author Charles Petzold asks the question: What do flashlights, the British invasion, black cats, and seesaws have to do with computers? Best Computer Science Books Petzold’s answer is a fascinating look at the way we manipulate language and invent new means of communicating with each other. Complete with clever illustrations and references to familiar objects and events, Code is a great way to further understand — and respect — today’s world of PCs, digital media, and the Internet.
6. The Chip: How Two Americans Invented the Microchip and Launched a Revolution
In The Chip, T.R. Reid goes back to the spark that ignited the electronics revolution: the invention of the microchip. While a race to create the first chip was well underway at the major tech companies, Fairchild Semiconductor employee Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments took it upon themselves to individually create their own versions of the chip. What ensued was a long legal battle about which one had come up with the microchip first. Reid describes the whole story in fascinating detail, though Best Computer Science Books was published just as Noyce was gaining fame as the industry’s statesman, and fifteen years after Kilby received the Nobel Prize for Physics.
These were some of the most beautiful and easy to read computer science books that will help you to learn better.