80-Bus News


January–March 1982 · Volume 1 · Issue 1

Page 34 of 55

Perusal of the computer bookshelf in a good technical bookshop will often reveal titles which your friendly local computer store has never heard of, and which may be most relevant to you and the direction of development of your system. These books are usually text books, and make for very dry reading, but the information is there in them nevertheless.

A good plan is to read them a small bit at a time, allowing time for the information to sink in. They are not written in general about specific machines, and discuss instead the general concepts, which are applicable to all computers.

It would be beyond my power to review in depth a number of these books. I would like instead to mention some of them, with a short comment on the contents or field of applicability, in the hope that you can find a copy in your local bookshop or library to help you decide if it is relevant to you before purchase.

Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs

By Niklaus Wirth
Publ. Prentice Hall

This is by the father of Pascal, and is regarded as being one of the seminal books on the design of computer programs. Wirth is of the opinion that correct computing springs from a correct structuring of the data, and application to this of the best algorithm. His langage Pascal is based on this postulate. This book is regularly used as a teaching book in universities – even those who do not teach Pascal!

An Introduction to Data Structures with Applications

By Tremblay and Sorenson
Publ. McGraw Hill

This is perhaps the cheapest of the standard books on data structures, being available in a McGraw Hill Student edition for about 10.00 (some other data structure books run to 30.00!). It gives examples in PL/1, which is quite close to Pascal or Structured English. I’ll quote its chapterheadings to give you an idea what it is about.

Information and its Storage Representation
The representation and manipulation of strings
Linear data structures and their Sequential Storage Representaion
Linear data structures and their Linked Storage Representation
Sorting and Searching
File Structures.

It is a hefty volume, running to just over 700 pages, and I am wading through it. It is not the lightest reading in the world, but it seems very complete.

Fundamentals of Operating Systems

By Lister
Publ. Macmillan

This book is concerned with the design of the operating systems (the monitor) for large or multiuser computer systems. With the advent of disks, and other expansions, such as possible multiple processors on a bus or multiple users on the same machine, as might happen in schools, this subject will become more and more relevant.

Closing Comments

Please bear in mind that these books are text books, and consider them well before you rush over to the cashdesk to purchase them. Perhaps you may find them absolutely indigestible! If you are minded to buy a book with a view to construction or design of some project, then I’d recommend Ciarcia or Sargent & Shoemaker. If the higher theory would be of interest, then I think Software Tools in Pascal would be a good starting point. I have not seen this particular volume, I stress again, but am quite confident of its general usefulness. In addition, we have two excellent Pascal Compilers available for the Nascom, the Hisoft Naspas and Polydata’s. With a little bit of adjustment I feel sure the Software Tools programs will run on these.

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