Numerical Recipes in C - The Art of Scientific Computing

Peter Kitson

ISBN : 0521437202

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Sample Chapter From Numerical Recipes in C - The Art of Scientific Computing
     Copyright © William H. Press

1.0 Introduction

This book, like its predecessor edition, is supposed to teach you methods of
numerical computing that are practical, efficient, and (insofar as possible) elegant.
We presume throughout this book that you, the reader, have particular tasks that you
want to get done. We view our job as educating you on how to proceed. Occasionally
we may try to reroute you briefly onto a particularly beautiful side road; but by and
large, we will guide you along main highways that lead to practical destinations.
Throughout this book, you will find us fearlessly editorializing, telling you
what you should and shouldn’t do. This prescriptive tone results from a conscious
decision on our part, and we hope that you will not find it irritating. We do not
claim that our advice is infallible! Rather, we are reacting against a tendency, in
the textbook literature of computation, to discuss every possible method that has
ever been invented, without ever offering a practical judgment on relative merit. We
do, therefore, offer you our practical judgments whenever we can. As you gain
experience, you will form your own opinion of how reliable our advice is.
We presume that you are able to read computer programs in C, that being
the language of this version of Numerical Recipes (Second Edition). The book
Numerical Recipes in FORTRAN (Second Edition) is separately available, if you
prefer to program in that language. Earlier editions of Numerical Recipes in Pascal
and Numerical Recipes Routines and Examples in BASIC are also available; while
not containing the additional material of the Second Edition versions in C and
FORTRAN, these versions are perfectly serviceable if Pascal or BASIC is your
language of choice.