Alternatives to Numerical Recipes

There is no single alternative to Numerical Recipes. The authors of Numerical Recipes provide a superficial overview of a large amount of material in a small volume. In order to do so, they made many unfortunate compromises.

It is naïve to hope that every computational problem can be solved by a simple procedure that can be described in a few pages of chatty prose, and using a page or two of Fortran or C code. Today's ambitions for correctness, accuracy, precision, stability, "robustness", efficiency, etc. demand sophisticated codes developed by experts with deep understanding of their disciplines. We have long ago outgrown the capabilities of the simplistic approaches of 30 years ago.

Steve Sullivan has constructed a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list on numerical analysis. The size of the list will give you some idea of the scope of the field. Some books are reviewed in section q165.

It would be unproductive to try to list all the excellent textbooks on numerical analysis. A few of them are (in alphabetical order of primary author):

There are excellent texts and reference works that focus on narrow portions of the discipline of numerical analysis. Consider, for example: If you have been using Numerical Recipes for software, we recommend that you contact the computing professionals in your organization. For JPL users, you can contact the Computational Mathematics Subgroup, or obtain the Math77 and mathc90 libraries of mathematical software directly. There is also a substantial amount of software and information about software on-line.

For one-of-a-kind computations, we recommend MATLAB (The MathWorks, Inc.).

Revised: November 16, 2001