The first edition of the book was based on a single one-semester course. However, over time I couldn’t resist adding more material than could be fit into a semester. The current edition is suitable for a two-semester introductory computer science sequence. When I started working on the second edition I thought that I would just add a few chapters, but I ended up doing far more. I reorganized the back half of the book.
The book is aimed at students with little or no prior programming experience who have a desire to understand computational approaches to problem solving. For some of the students the material in this book will be a stepping stone to more advanced computer science courses. Because this will be the only formal exposure to computer science for many of the students, we emphasize breadth rather than depth.
The goal is to provide students an introduction to many topics, so that they will have an understanding of what’s the best option when the time comes to accomplish a goal. That said, this is not a “computation appreciation” book. It is challenging and rigorous. Students who wish to really learn the material will have to spend a lot of time and effort learning to bend the computer to their will.
The main goal of this book is to help students become skillful at making productive use of computational techniques. The primary knowledge they will take away from this book is the art of computational problem solving.
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