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Computer Science introductory reading

Students expecting to read Computer Science at Churchill College are required to complete some light preparatory reading before arriving in  Cambridge. The texts below are all readily available, in-print, and  available from most city and town libraries in the UK but if you have  trouble getting hold of any, please email the Director of Studies — John Fawcett, for advice on suitable alternatives.

Email John Fawcett

Students should read at least two of these texts and will be significantly advantaged by reading a third or all four if time  permits. They are listed in order of merit to a typical student but those taking Computer Science with Mathematics might prefer to tackle the fourth book in preference to the third.

It is not necessary to  purchase any of these texts: although each is a very useful reference throughout the first year of the Computer Science Tripos, the College  and department libraries are well stocked with plenty of copies.

Book 1

Section one of Paulson, L.C. (1996). ML for the working programmer. Cambridge University Press (2nd ed.). [earlier editions also OK]

Book 2

All of Silberschatz, A., Peterson, J.L. & Galvin, P.C. (2008). Operating systems concepts. Wiley (9th ed.).

Book 3

Part one of Cormen, T.H., Leiserson, C.D., Rivest, R.L. & Stein, C. (2001). Introduction to Algorithms. MIT Press (3rd ed.). ISBN 0-262-53196-8.

Book 4

Devlin, K. (2003). Sets, functions, and logic: an introduction to abstract mathematics. Chapman and Hall/CRC Mathematics (3rd ed.).


If you are unable to get hold of a copy of one of these books in your country, then the following are good substitutes.

Book 1

The New Turing Omnibus, published by Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0805071665


Book 2

Operating Systems, published by Addison Wesley.  ISBN 978-0321117892.


Book 4

How to think like a Mathematician, published by Cambridge University Press.  ISBN 978-0521719780.

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