After perusing the web and cstheory.stackexchange in particular, I've come across many different wonderful resources in Computer Science - from Sipser's "Introduction to the Theory of Computation" to books on Languages or volumes on Cryptography.

However, what I couldn't find was a general introduction to Computer Science, a book that covers some of these topics briefly in distinct chapters. That is to say, a chapter on computational complexity, a chapter on languages, a chapter on logic, a chapter on cryptography, a chapter on algorithms etc, all in one book.

I'm a math major, and whenever I run into things like hash functions or "automata", I have to hit Google and go from there. It'd be nice if I could have a book that could get me reasonably up to speed on many of these foundations and central ideas in (theoretical) computer science without having to read 4 different books about 4 different fields in CS totalling 2000+ pages.

Just to be clear, I'm not really looking for hands-on books on how to write code - this question pertains mostly to the theoretical bases of CS (although I wouldn't mind a chapter on functional programming or "programming concepts"). Also, my preference goes out to a book as opposed to a website or online resource as I travel a lot and usually don't have access to the internet, though I do have the habit of taking a book with me.

In essence, I'm thinking about something equivalent to "University Physics" books (but instead, a fair bit shorter as those tend to be huge tomes of 1400+ pages), or "Mathematical Methods for Scientists" - something like that.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This site is for research level questions. Your question would be a better fit on cs.stackexchange.com , although it might be considered too broad even there. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ The best is perhaps the Handbook of Theoretical Computer Science from 1990. However, it is well over 2000 pages over two volumes, with text of highly variable density, and now quite out of date: several areas have seen huge advances but only merit single chapters, or aren't even included. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2017 at 13:03


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.