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Hopcroft et al vs. Sipser?

I am going to buy a book on computational theory.

The two standard books on this subject, as far as I can tell, are "Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation" by Hopcroft, Rajeev, and Ullman and "Introduction to the Theory of Computation" by Michael Sipser.

Which of these is better and why?

Warren Henning
Saturday, December 14, 2002

sorry mate . nobody has read therotical computer science here .

programmer
Monday, December 16, 2002


Just for the sake of argument, I will point out that I have read Sipser. It was the textbook for the theory of computation course that I took at university.

I thought the book was good (as compared to other textbooks), but I can't help with a comparison to Hopcroft, et al.

Bill Tomlinson
Monday, December 16, 2002

Get algorithmix : the spirit of the machine or such like by David Harel

Karel
Monday, December 16, 2002

Sipser by a longshot... we had to buy both books when i was an undergrad a couple of years ago and one time i had a question about something pretty complicated.  it had Michael Sipser's email in the book so i figured, what the hell... i emailed him and he responded 24 hours later with a grand explanation!!

definitely sipser!
Monday, December 16, 2002

I took a course on languge theory at Rice and the standard text there was Sipser.  They had actually moved away from Hopcroft.  My experience, after using both books, was that Sipser was great for learning the material, provided you could find the answers you needed in there.  For the tough problems, I often turned to Hopcroft for more information.  I find Hopcroft much tougher to digest, but I did think it was slightly more useful **once you could digest what it was trying to say.**  Caveat - language theory was never my forte or burning interest.

Justin
Tuesday, December 17, 2002

btw, when people recommend Hopcroft et al, try to ask which edition they got.  I got a lot of recommendations for Hopcroft when I asked this very question to people, but I opted for Sipser because the Amazon reviews gave me the impression that Hopcroft got more verbose, and I like more eloquent texts.  I haven't had cause to regret my decision.

Of course, had I lived near a library, this would have been much easier. ;)

Tj
Tuesday, December 17, 2002

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