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Book Reviews
Book Reviews

Puzzles

There are hundreds of puzzle books in the market. Below are a handful of titles with combinatorial puzzles, which would appeal to computer scientists and mathematicians.

Mathematical Puzzles: A Connoisseur's Collection

by Peter Winkler, 175 pages, 2003 (Amazon link).

A fantastic book for computer scientists and mathematicians who love combinatorial puzzles. Many puzzles are algorithmic in nature. I borrowed some of his puzzles for exposition: Fifteen Sum and Ant Collisions, for example.

An interesting puzzle appears on the back cover of the book:

"A large regular hexagon is cut out of a triangular grid and tiled with diamonds (pairs of triangles glued together along an edge). Diamonds come in three varieties, depending on orientation; prove that precisely the same number of each variety must appear in the tiling.

The solution is the picture on the front cover :)

After the success of his first puzzle book, Peter Winkler wrote a second book called Mathematical Mind-Benders (160 pages, 2007).

Mathematical Puzzles of Sam Loyd

by Sam Loyd & Margin Gardner (editor), 167 pages, 1959 (Amazon link).

Sam Loyd was a recreational mathematician who was called "America's Greatest Puzzler" by Martin Gardner. In 1914, Sam Loyd's son published The Encyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles (free, now in public domain). A large-sized (43MB) PDF is available here. Some of the popular puzzlea are available here.

The Moscow Puzzles: 359 Mathematical Recreations

by Boris Kordemsky, 320 pages, 1956 (Amazon link).

A nice collection of puzzles from Russia, where this book was originally published.

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