Yesterday I posted a list of books that I want reviews of
as SIGACT NEWS Book Review Column Editor.
This resulted in an unintentional study of Sociology and
Blogs which would make an awful paper but a reasonable posting.
Some comments below, plus response to comments, and some pointers.

So far 12 books have been claimed. More than 12 people made requests
but some of the books were already claimed.
Of the 12 only 1 has reviewed for me before.
The typical column generates 3 or 4 requests, and even
those are usually from people who have reviewed before.
Why is the blog so much more effective than my column
for finding people to write book reviews for me?

The most popular book by far was not Knuth Vol 4 Fascicle 0,
nor any of the other algorithms book, or crypto books
(usually a popular topic) but was instead the book
Concentration of Measure for the Analysis of Randomized Algorithms.
Why that one? The catchy title? The hotness of the topic?
Perhaps several of the other books on my list people already
have from the publishers as they are potential textbooks, but
this one is not in that category.

One of the commenters wanted to know if you need to be an expert
to read a book. NO. But you have to be interested and actually
read it and have the background to read it.

One of the commenters wanted to know what level the books were at.
Alas. In the far future there may be a way to, given a book title,
type it into what might be some kind of Engine of Search
and find out more about it. Next time I do this I will supply
more information about the book, unless by some miracle some sort of
Search Technology has evolved to make such unneeded.

Below I have the revised list with the books that are already claimed removed.

Deadline for reviews is Jan 14, 2010, though the intention is to finish them
before your next semester starts. If you need more time then tell me.
LaTeX template is at
here.
Plaintext is also fine if the review does not have too much math in it.
Books on Algorithms and Data Structures

Algorithmic Adventures: From Knowledge to Magic
by Juraj Hromkovic.

Algorithms and Data Structures: The Basic Toolbox
by Mehlhorn and Sanders.

The Algorithms Design Manual
by Skiena.

Combinatorial Geometry and its Algorithmic
Applications: The Alcala Lectures
by Pach and Sharir.

Algorithms for Statistical Signal Processing
by Proakis, Rader, Ling, Nikias, Moonen, Proudler.

Nonlinear Integer Programming by Li and Sun.

Binary Quadratic Forms: An Algorithmic Approach
by Buchmann and Vollmer.

Parallel Algorithms
by Casanova, Legrand, and Robert.

Mathematics for the Analysis of Algorithms
by Greene and Knuth.

Concentration of Measure for the Analysis of Randomized
Algorithms
by Dubhashi and Panconesi.

Vehicular Networks: From Theory to Practice
Edited by Olariu and Weigle.
Books on Cryptography

Introduction to Modern Cryptography
by Katz and Lindell.

Concurrent ZeroKnowledge by Alon Rosen.

Elliptic Curves: Number Theory and Cryptography
by Washington.

Secure Key Establishment by Choo.

Algebraic Cryptanalysis by Bard

A Course in Number Theory and Cryptography
by Koblitz.

Cryptanalytic Attacks on RSA
by Yan.
Books on Coding Theory

Algebraic Function Fields and Codes
by Stichtenoth.

Applied Algebra: Codes, Ciphers, and Discrete Algorithms
by Hardy, Richman, and Walker.
Books on Theory of Computation

The Calculus of Computation: Decision Procedures with
Applications to Verification
by Bradley and Manna.

Models of Computation: An introduction to
Computability Theory
by Fernandez.
Combinatorics

Applied Combinatorics
by Roberts and Tesman.

A Course in Enumeration
by Aigner.

Chromatic Graph Theory
by Chatrang and Zhang.

Design Theory
by Lindner and Rodger.

Combinatorial Methods with computer applications
by Gross

A combinatorial approach to matrix theory and
its application
by Brualdi and Cvetkovic.
Misc Books

Quantum Computer Science: An Introduction
by Mermin.

Complex Social Networks
by VegaRedondo

Branching Programs and Binary Decision Diagrams
by Wegener.

When Least is Best: How Mathematicians Discovered many clever
ways to make things as small (or as large) as possible
by Nahin.

Stories about Maxima and Minima by Tikhomirov.

Decision and Elections: Explaining the Unexpected
by Saari.

Creative Mathematics
by Wall

Is Mathematics Inevitable? A Miscellany
Edited by Underwood Dudley.

Comprehensive Mathematics for Computer Scientists 1:
Sets and numbers, graphs and algebra, logic and machines, linear
geometry
by Mazzola, Milmeister, and Weissmann.

Difference Equations: From Rabbits to Chaos
by Cull, Flahive, and Robson.

A Concise introduction to Data Compression by Salomon.

Practical Text Mining with Perl
by Roger Biliosly.
How about upping the ante and publicly announcing the names of all the reviewers against the books they have promised to review. This commits them into turning something in, and also winnows out the ones that did it out of a rush of blood.
ReplyDeleteI assume the reviews will be published along with the full name of the reviewer? If so, should pretenure folks be involved in such a task, lest they step on the toes of those who might someday have too much power over them?
ReplyDeleteI second that suggestion (about publicly announcing the names of reviewers)
ReplyDeleteI like the fact that the first comment, advocating the announcement of reviewer names, is anonymous.
ReplyDeleteWhy is the blog so much more effective than my column for finding people to write book reviews for me?
ReplyDeletePerhaps more people read your blog than SIG ACT news?
1) I have never had a problem with someone promising to do a review and not doing it. If this becomes a problem I may take some action like those suggested.
ReplyDelete2) YES the reviewers name appears with the review.
Most of the reviews are not of the type
THIS BOOK IS GREAT or
THIS BOOK SUCKS. Its more
a matter of telling us whats
IN the book and WHO the audience is. IF a pretenure faculty gets a book from me and things
WOW THIS IS REALLY BAD
and wants to opt out of reviewing it, I would certainly allow that.
It has never happened.
3) A private email suggested
(correctly) that this blog
is far more widely read than SIGACT news, and thats why I got so many more people. Yes, but there
are people who told me directly that they read my column, but the blog is more IMMEDIATE.
Could be a reason for the
better response.
Mitzenmacher mentioned Concentration of Measure ... the other day.
ReplyDeleteAn Luca also
ReplyDeletehttp://lucatrevisan.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/goodreads/
Why the deadline? Can you no longer get free copies from the publisher after that date? (Seems a little unlikely, since some of the books you want reviewed aren't particularly new.)
ReplyDeleteThe most popular book by far was ... the book Concentration of Measure for the Analysis of Randomized Algorithms. Why that one?
ReplyDeleteProbably because it was mentioned recently on two blogs.
I'd like to add my voice to those who found Concentration of Measure to be a book of considerable interest ... and thanks also for posting such a great list of books!
ReplyDeleteIt often happens in simulations (both classical and quantum) that random dynamical processes act to concentrate trajectories in small regions of statespace.
Does this kind of stochastic/dynamical concentration have connections to the concentration of measure? Are these two phenomena (at bottom) pretty intimately related mathematically?
Thanks to Dubhashi and Panconesi, these questions now seem more confusing to me than ever ... and hey, that's progress! :)
Why a deadline? So that people will
ReplyDeleteACTUALLY GET IT DONE. If you don't give a deadline people tend to drift.
Misc Thought: In the future when a book review comes out I will announce
it on the blog and link to it.
Update: I have either send out or
had the publisher send out
a total of 24 books.
Why is the blog so much more effective than my column for finding people to write book reviews for me?
ReplyDeleteMaybe because the blog is free?
From email and your comments
ReplyDeletethe sociology experement turned out to be even less interesting than I expected:
1) Blog is free
2) Blog has far more readers than SIGACT NEWS
3) If you are already online it is less effort to just email me then if you are reading SIGACT NEWS in your easy chair.
A more careful study would likely not reveal any more than that.
However, given that the blog has so many more readers
(a fact I did not know before) this really does say I should post a pointer to the reviews after
they come out in print.
Do you accept anonymous reviews? As indicated on your blog, an anonymous comment (or book/paper review) can be very respectful and thoughtful.
ReplyDeleteTo write a review is worth a book, well that's showing respect for the reader!
ReplyDelete