Note: I originally posted this to comp.lang.Pascal.mac several weeks

ago, and it was pointed out that it made even more sense to post

it to comp.lang.pascal.borland and comp.lang.pascal.delphi.misc.

There have been frequent requests for recommendations of good

Pascal books on comp.lang.pascal.mac, and since I have just recently

come across one I like very much, I thought I would write a short

review of it. The book is:

Title: Scientific Pascal

Author: Harley Flanders

Publisher: Birkhauser, Boston

ISBN: 0-8176-3760-5

Copyright: 1996

Harley Flanders is a Professor of Mathematics at the University

of Michigan, and I have long had a nodding acquaintance with him

and knew some of his other books on pure mathematics, but I was quite

surprised to find that he was a Pascal expert as well.

First some things the book is not---

1) In my mind it is not suitable as a first text on programming.

While the first three chapters (124 pages) do give a complete

introduction to programming in Pascal, starting from scratch, it goes

too fast for a real beginner. On the other hand, for someone who has

had some prior experience with programming, perhaps in another language,

these chapters would be an excellent way to learn serious programming

concepts and good style in Pascal.

2) It is not a book in which you will learn to program the Macintosh

user interface.

In fact, the book is aimed at those using Turbo Pascal on MS DOS machines!

But this is essentially irrelevant. The great bulk of the code consists of

algorithms that are independent of any GUI or operating system specifics.

And that in my mind is the real strength of this book. It is chock-full of

useful, carefully coded (and carefully documented), real-world algorithms

that can be used by any mathematically literate scientist or engineer. In

that sense it is comparable to Numerical Recipes in Pascal---except that

Flander's code is far better than the really ugly Pascal in NMP, which is

apparently machine translated from fortran. (And Numerical Recipes no longer

supports Pascal---they never wrote a Second Edition of Numerical Recipes

in Pascal, although the C and Fortran volumes appeared long ago).

Of course the disc that accompanies the book is DOS formatted, but I found

it easy to first expand the .exe file (containing all the programs and units)

on a PC, and then do an ftp to a MAC, where the folder containing them occupies

1.3 MBytes!---in fact just the table of contents file, listing all the units and

programs is 34K.

I could not begin to list all the algorithms without having this review

become to long, but let it suffice to say that they include all the common

sorting algorithms, algorithms for searching and parsing, most of the standard

numerical algorithms (for root finding, numerical quadrature, solving initial

value ODE problems, finding eigenvalues of ODE by shooting methods, orthogonal

polynomials, FFT), numerical linear algebra (Gaussian elimination, QR,

eigenvalues,

sparse matrix algorithms), number theory (GCD's, residues, prime sieves)

discrete

mathematics (permutations and combinations) random number generators and Monte

Carlo methods, genetic algorithms, multi-precision arithmetic, graphics

algorithms,

fractal generators, recursive algorithms, Conways "Game of Life"---well,

you get

the idea, the list is virtually endless.

Have a look. You'll be glad you did.

R. Palais