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Peter Norvig has this unique style where he explains his design process in detail, including exploring the problem on example cases, writing multiple solutions, the thinking involved in moving from one solution to the next one, including profiling and finding bottlenecks etc., you see how he goes about problem solving and he is a master problem solver. In fact his writing provides a good opportunity to reflect on what designing programs even means: investigating and choosing trade-offs, choosing an adequate representation (data structure) for a problem etc. This illustrates on a small scale how a lot of the most serious software engineering happens, the engineering where you actually have a definite, hard problem to solve, rather than just making the program pretty by criteria on which there is no agreement etc.

He does this not only in those notebooks but for example also in his "Paradigms Of Artificial Intelligence Programming" book. I have not seen this done to any serious extent in any algorithm textbook or tutorials.




I code Python professionally (and passionately), and would consider myself quite experienced. His code in ' When Cheryl Met Eve: A Birthday Story' is the most beautifully constructed stuff in the world. That sort of stuff isn't about coding ability, it's about a reasoning process that some people have developed to such an extent that it's innately beautiful no matter how it's expressed. I'm sure his javascript solution would be nearly as beautiful.


> I'm sure his javascript solution would be nearly as beautiful.

I really like his Python code, but I think his Lisp code from PAIP is extremely underrated. In fact, it makes me sad he switched to Python for some AI tasks (same as Goodman & Tenenbaum in http://probmods.org) given that Lisp offers a unique feature for AI: homoiconicity.

This is something that I think will make a comeback with Bayesian program learning. For a glimpse of the future, see above link.


And how many great books and papers from before the early 80s are stacking dust in libraries and college archives ?

there are lots of lisp/fp books that aren't as known as PAIP. based on the few I took on ebay (henderson's recursion book and the likes) we might have a lot of surprises.


> His code in ' When Cheryl Met Eve: A Birthday Story' is the most beautifully constructed stuff in the world.

Where is this published? I couldn't look it up.






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