518: Principle of Numerical Analysis by Alston S. Householder

by Gerard


518: Householder, Alston S. Principles of Numerical Analysis. York, PA: The Maple Press Company, 1953. 246 pp.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 510: Mathematics
  • 518: Numerical analysis

Before I earned a degree in library science, and before became a major in English literature, I wanted to be a mathematician. I was even decently proficient at it. Integrals, differentials, infinite sets—these were all a lot of fun for me. So, for me, Alston Householder’s Principle of Numerical Analysis was a trip down memory lane. Here, he discusses the use and derivation of calculation errors, linear and nonlinear equations, matrix and vector mathematics, and yes, integrals and differentials.

Two years ago, I read a treatise on functional fields in Italian dialectical construction. This book was much like that one. For a fair amount of the time, I could understand the words being used, but at other times, it went way over my head. It turns out I’ve lost a fair amount of my former mathematical prowess. Interestingly enough, however, the author starts with a discussion in mathematical error and how to calculate it. Most of the time, this is reserved for after the main points have been discussed. There’s a wonderful line in that section: “Blunders results from fallibility, errors from finitude. Blunders will not be considered here to any extent.” It’s a wonderful no-nonsense approach to what can be a very heady subject. To those that read this one, I tip my hat to them, for they are better equipped than I. A dense and formulaic book.