Do you feel like embarking on a new difficult journey, a journey that will nevertheless be extremely rewarding in the end? Well then, you could give computer science a try. And, who knows, this path might lead you to become a successful software developer or AI engineer one day.
But in order to do so, you’ll first need a guide that can effectively introduce you to the world of computer science. That’s why, in today’s article, we’re going to uncover the 5 best books about computer science!
What is computer science about?
Computer science is a fascinating and tough subject centered around the study of computers and computation. The discipline is focused on the implementation of algorithms and data structures, computer and network design, modeling data and information processes, and artificial intelligence.
Being a successful computer scientist is a very demanding occupation, since it requires meticulous attention to detail, flexibility in thinking, and mathematical skills overall.
The major sub-fields of computer science include: the traditional study of computer architecture, programming languages, and software development. Computational science (the use of algorithmic techniques for modeling scientific data), graphics and visualization, human-computer interaction, databases and information systems and lastly networks are also central to the subject.
It’s also important to mention how computer science is an extremely prolific and ever-evolving field in that it overlaps with other sciences — such as chemistry, medicine, physics, linguistics and many others.
5 amazing books about computer science
Now, I compiled a list of some of the best books for learning about computer science and its history. These books can also be useful to people who are starting to get acquainted with the subject, although I must warn you that some of them are a pretty heavy read.
1) The Computer Science Book: A Complete Introduction to Computer Science in One Book, by Thomas Johnson
Learn the computer science foundations through this book’s ten chapters covering all the essential topics of the science of computing.
Author Thomas Johnson created the perfect all-around guide for beginners, self-taught developers, bootcamp graduates and anyone who wants to really understand how computers work. The book includes:
– Computer architecture
– Operating systems
– Algorithms and data structures
– Computer networking
– Concurrent programming
– Theory of computation
– Programming languages
– Compilers and interpreters
– Distributed systems
2) Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions, by Brian Christian and Thomas L. Griffiths
A fascinating exploration of how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind.
In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths show how the simple, precise algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions.
From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one’s inbox to understanding the workings of human memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.
3) Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, by Charles Petzold
In CODE, we’re shown the ingenious ways we manipulate language and invent new means of communicating with each other. And through CODE, we see how this ingenuity and our very human compulsion to communicate have driven the technological innovations of the past two centuries.
Using everyday objects and familiar language systems such as Braille and Morse code, author Charles Petzold weaves an illuminating narrative for anyone who’s ever wondered about the secret inner life of computers and other smart machines.
4) Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom
Nick Bostrom‘s eerie work Superintelligence argues that if machine brains surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could replace humans as the dominant lifeform on Earth.
Sufficiently intelligent machines could improve their own capabilities faster than human computer scientists, and the outcome could be an existential catastrophe for humans.
This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. It’s an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life.
5) The Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder
Published in 1981, Tracy Kidder‘s work recounts the tribulations of a computer engineering team racing to design a next-generation computer at a blistering pace under tremendous pressure. The product of their work was the Data General Eclipse MV/8000.
The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. As in the past, things remain unchanged today regarding the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations.