Sage beginner’s guide is a book by Craig Finch, published recently by PACKT publishing.
After spending two weeks looking at different aspects of the book, I can say with property that this is an excellent book, an I’ll recommend it for beginners to medium experienced SAGE users.
Since this is the first book I review, and also the first I own from this publisher, I’d say that its format is quite understandable, and one might learn a lot by following examples… and then, just then, the details are explained. I really love that feature of the writing.
The first chapter, called What can we do with Sage?, shows in about 20 pages some powerful tools available in Sage, from symbolic calculation, linear algebra, ODE’s, to plotting functions in 2D and 3D… even fitting of curves. I’ll say this is an impressive chapter, and it’s just the start point. Nonetheless, as in any book, one might notice that in some examples the graphics do not correspond to the code, but when you try the code yourself, you get the right ones.
The chapter about Installing Sage, is written in detail, and explain how to install the software in the three major operative systems: Windows, X OS, and Linux. Of course, due to the unstoppable develop of open source software, there’s a delay in the version shown in the book, however, the steps to follow are the same. A nice thing is that it’s explained how to compile the source for multi-core systems.
Getting Started with Sage, shows a huge amount of small tricks, I mean… I’ve been using Sage for about one a half year, and had no idea of plenty of the tricks explained in this chapter. Awesome!!!
All aspects of Sage are exploited, command line, notebook, different cells in the notebook, all the different types of variables available… and their operations. Functions and even a quick introduction to object oriented programming.
Another useful chapter of the book is the one where some differences (and similarities) between Sage and Python are explained. As a example, the use of commands like range, xrange or srange.
Chapters 5 to 8 show with plenty examples and incredible detail uses of Sage in linear algebra, visualization (plotting), symbolic and numerical calculation. Of course, there is no way I can explain how vast the content is, but include:
- Simplifications in symbolic calculation,
- Manipulation and analysis of data,
- Integral transforms,
- Differential equations,
- Differential and integral calculus,
- Numerical calculus, et cetera.
Finally, the last two chapters are more a complement for intermediate users, specially with programming knowledge. They cover python programming, say functions, classes and modules, and its uses, and more advanced features of Sage as integration, optimization of numerical calculation (with NumPy and Cython), and an introduction to the interactive mode.
Thus, In a scale from zero to ten I’d give a 9/10 to this book, because managing such a variety of tricks and functions are worth it.
You can check out the book at http://www.packtpub.com/sage-beginners-guide/book
Read Full Post »