Introduction to Algorithms
Cover of the fourth edition
AuthorThomas H. Cormen
Charles E. Leiserson
Ronald L. Rivest
Clifford Stein
SubjectComputer algorithms
PublisherMIT Press
Publication date
1990 (first edition)
Publication placeUnited States

Introduction to Algorithms is a book on computer programming by Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, and Clifford Stein. The book has been widely used as the textbook for algorithms courses at many universities[1] and is commonly cited as a reference for algorithms in published papers, with over 10,000 citations documented on CiteSeerX,[2] and over 67,000 citation on Google Scholar as of 2023.[3] The book sold half a million copies during its first 20 years,[4] and surpassed a million copies sold in 2022.[5] Its fame has led to the common use of the abbreviation "CLRS" (Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, Stein), or, in the first edition, "CLR" (Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest).[6]

In the preface, the authors write about how the book was written to be comprehensive and useful in both teaching and professional environments. Each chapter focuses on an algorithm, and discusses its design techniques and areas of application. Instead of using a specific programming language, the algorithms are written in pseudocode. The descriptions focus on the aspects of the algorithm itself, its mathematical properties, and emphasize efficiency.[7]


The first edition of the textbook did not include Stein as an author, and thus the book became known by the initialism CLR. It included two chapters ("Arithmetic Circuits" & "Algorithms for Parallel Computers") that were dropped in the second edition. After the addition of the fourth author in the second edition, many began to refer to the book as "CLRS". This first edition of the book was also known as "The Big White Book (of Algorithms)." With the second edition, the predominant color of the cover changed to green, causing the nickname to be shortened to just "The Big Book (of Algorithms)."[8] The third edition was published in August 2009. The fourth edition was published in April 2022, which has colors added to improve visual presentations.[9]

Cover design

The mobile depicted on the cover, Big Red (1959) by Alexander Calder, can be found at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.[10] An Introduction to Language by Fromkin also uses Calder's mobile on its cover.

Publication history


See also


  1. ^ Introduction to Algorithms. MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. MIT Press. 18 June 1990. ISBN 978-0-262-03141-7. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  2. ^ "Introduction to Algorithms—CiteSeerX citation query". CiteSeerX. The College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  3. ^ "Introduction to Algoritms". Google Scholar. Retrieved 2023-11-26.
  4. ^ Larry Hardesty (August 10, 2011). "Milestone for MIT Press's bestseller". MIT News Office. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  5. ^ Jane Halpern (February 23, 2022). "Q&A: What makes a bestselling textbook?". MIT News. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  6. ^ "Eternally Confuzzled - Red/Black Trees". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
  7. ^ Cormen; Leiserson; Riverst; Stein (2009). "Preface". Introduction to Algorithms (3 ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp. xiii–xiv. ISBN 978-0-262-03384-8.
  8. ^ "V-Business Card".
  9. ^ Cormen, Thomas H. (22 March 2022). Introduction to Algorithms (4th ed.). MIT Press. ISBN 9780262046305. Retrieved August 19, 2022.
  10. ^ Cormen et al, back cover. See, also, Big Red at the Whitney Museum of American Art web site.
  11. ^ "Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition".
  12. ^ "Introduction to Algorithms, Third Edition".
  13. ^ "Errata for Introduction to Algorithms, 4th Edition".