||This preface is addressed to readers who are interested in computing but who seldom either consult manuals or read prefaces. So, I will be brief.
Computing requires an integrated approach, in which scientific and mathematical analysis, numerical algorithms, and programming are developed and used together. The purpose of this book is to provide an introduction to analysis, numerics, and their applications. I believe that a firm grounding in the basic concepts and methods in these areas is necessary if you wish to use numerical recipes effectively. The topics that I develop extensively are drawn mostly from applied mathematics, the physical sciences, and engineering. They are divided almost equally among review of the mathematics, numerical-analysis methods (such as differentiation, integration, and solution of differential equations from the sciences and engineering), and data-analysis applications (such as splines, least-squares fitting, and Fourier expansions).
I call this a workbook, since I think that the best way to learn numerically oriented computing is to work many examples. Therefore, you will notice and, I hope, solve many of the exercises that are strewn throughout the text like rocks in the stream of consciousness. I try to introduce you to a technique, show you some of the steps, then let you work out further steps and developments yourself. I also suggest new and scenic routes rather than overtraveled highways. There are occasional diversions from the mainstream, often to point out how a topic that we are developing fits in with others in computing and its applications.
The programming language in which I present programs is C. This language is now used extensively in systems development, data-acquisition systems, numerical methods, and in many engineering applications. To accommodate readers who prefer Fortran or Pascal, I have used only the numerically oriented parts of С and I have