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I am a CS student, and am really astonished that I didn't know about Donald Knuth and his TAoCP. Now that I do, I really look forward to diving into it. Would going for the entire volume 4 be a good idea? Also, is there a place online where I can read up (especially, the algorithms and DS part) ?

thanks, Yati

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The Art of Computer Programming is a very thorough and exhaustive reference work and is not particular light reading.

A good place to start is Knuths own http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/taocp.html

You can see for yourself an old version of Volume 1 at http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc1.ps.gz (Postscript viewer needed) which explains MMIX (a hypothetical RISC like CPU) that Knuth implements his algorithms in.

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Thanks a lot. I know it is very, very comprehensive, but I thought I should at least make an attempt at grasping the details of the core algorithms Knuth has explained, so that I have a strong understanding of the principles. Actually, most books that we're offered here are either too clumsily written, or have just plain inefficient pseudo-code implementations. Thanks a ton. –  yati sagade Aug 14 '11 at 18:21
    
If you are a CS student with a mathematical inclination go have a look at your local library (not the public one). They should have it. Then you can decide if you want to purchase it. –  user1249 Aug 14 '11 at 19:57
    
Yes, right! I've started reading fascicle 1 from the link you gave, and am already bowled by his sense of humour!! Thanks. –  yati sagade Aug 15 '11 at 8:32

You can read the prerelease fascicles for volume 4A as well. These are probably a better place to start than the brutally exhaustive description of MIX.

http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc0a.ps.gz
http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc0b.ps.gz
http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc0c.ps.gz
http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc1a.ps.gz
http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc1b.ps.gz
http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc2a.ps.gz
http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc2b.ps.gz
http://www-cs-staff.stanford.edu/~uno/fasc2c.ps.gz

Also, if you're thinking of buying the volumes now, if Knuth gets 4B or 4C done before he dies you'll kick yourself for not waiting for the final authoritative 5-6 volume boxed set (aocp famously comes in a huge box, and with 4A it got even huger)

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