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Where I can find overview of computer science, programming etc.?

I graduated in physics and want to begin programming or similar and I'm not even sure of what's out there or where to begin. What I'm looking for is some broad overview of existing technologies - just like you have a book "Physics of elementary particles" that explains general view of that area, but for computers/programming of course.

Do you have some book to recommend?

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try wikipedia.com –  Casey Nov 19 '10 at 0:05

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science by Ronald Graham, Donald Knuth, and Oren Patashnik would be my suggestion for a generic book covering some basics though it is a bit Math-heavy.

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I'm sure Mr. Physics above won't be scared away by some math :) –  dr Hannibal Lecter Nov 18 '10 at 19:16

I'll answer your question with another question: what problem would you like to solve? Programming isn't about doing anything, it's about solving problems. Programming languages themselves are like tools; some are hammers, some are screwdrivers, some are table saws. Each of those tools is more suited to solving a particular problem, so it's a good idea to know what problem you want to solve before you try figuring out what tool you should solve it with.

Once you know what kind of problem you're looking to solve, we can give you significantly better suggestions on where you should start.

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I found Code Complete 2 to be excelent. In fact I would say its a must ready for every developer. its very broad and covers more than just programing, like software development life cycle, intergation, some testing...

its more focused on the software developer(some one creating comercial application) than the computer scientist.

http://www.amazon.com/Code-Complete-Practical-Handbook-Construction/dp/0735619670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290131411&sr=8-1

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I make all the "entry-level" programmers at our company get this book. The company even pays for it. While it (at times) can be considered a little out-dated, the basic concepts that it presents and thoughts on development and the development cycle are ideas that should always be in a programmers mind (somewhere, deep...) –  Paige Watson Nov 19 '10 at 18:10

Reading things is fine, but you need to tackle a project, something that's interesting to you. Do it in a nice middle-of-the-road language like C++ or Java. Beware of pitfalls such as a) too much "religion" coming from the computer science side, or b) too much sloppiness coming from the do-it-in-Fortran folks outside of CS.

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The Software Carpentry site covers many topics in practical programming, software design and essential tools and techniques aimed specifically at scientists. I find it worth browsing even for topics I already know about, and as a physicist/artist find it makes more sense than the thousands of sites and books aimed at the CS crowd, big enterprise systems developers, IT experts and the other non-scientist types.

http://software-carpentry.org/ "Since 1997, Software Carpentry has taught scientists and engineers the concepts and skills they need to use computers more effectively."

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