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Hm, is history important? There's wikipedia if you're interested in the 'history' of a specific algorithm. For the rest, most books I've seen have pseudo-code, which is easy to translate to code.

The classic textbooks are:

  * "Algorithms" by Robert Sedgewick et al.
  * "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen et al.
If you're extremely serious about algorithms, you might wanna go directly with the bible: TAOCP[1].

[1] http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/taocp.html

I would love to go with The Art of Computer Programming.. but I am already confused reading that page. Is this:


part 1 or is this:


You'll be wanting the first one, volume 1, and also Volume 2 for data structures. These are classics, still relevant, and will give you a good grounding to pursue the more recent offerings suggested by other answerers here.

Fascicles is a new effort by Knuth and is more hardware oriented.

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