Donald Knuth

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Donald Knuth
KnuthAtOpenContentAlliance.jpg
Donald Knuth at a reception for the Open Content Alliance, October 25, 2005
Born Donald Ervin Knuth
(1938-01-10) January 10, 1938 (age 81)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US
Other names 高德纳[1][2][3]
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics
Computer science
Institutions Stanford University
Alma mater Case Institute of Technology (B.S.; M.S., 1960)
California Institute of Technology (PhD, 1963)
Thesis Finite Semifields and Projective Planes (1963)
Doctoral advisor Marshall Hall, Jr.[4]
Doctoral students
Known for The Art of Computer Programming
TeX, METAFONT
Knuth–Morris–Pratt algorithm
Knuth–Bendix completion algorithm
MMIX
Robinson–Schensted–Knuth correspondence
Notable awards
Website
cs.stanford.edu/~uno

Donald Ervin Knuth (/kəˈnθ/[3] kə-NOOTH; born January 10, 1938) is an American computer scientist, mathematician, and professor emeritus at Stanford University.[7]

He is the author of the multi-volume work The Art of Computer Programming.[8] Knuth has been called the "father of the analysis of algorithms".[9] He contributed to the development of the rigorous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms and systematized formal mathematical techniques for it. In the process he also popularized the asymptotic notation. In addition to fundamental contributions in several branches of theoretical computer science, Knuth is the creator of the TeX computer typesetting system, the related METAFONT font definition language and rendering system, and the Computer Modern family of typefaces.

As a writer and scholar,[10] Knuth created the WEB and CWEB computer programming systems designed to encourage and facilitate literate programming, and designed the MIX/MMIX instruction set architectures. As a member of the academic and scientific community, Knuth is strongly opposed to the policy of granting software patents.[11] He has expressed his disagreement directly to both the United States Patent and Trademark Office and European Patent Organization.[12]

Early life

Knuth was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his father owned a small printing business and taught bookkeeping at Milwaukee Lutheran High School, where Donald enrolled, earning achievement awards. He applied his intelligence in unconventional ways, winning a contest when he was in eighth grade by finding over 4,500 words that could be formed from the letters in "Ziegler's Giant Bar"; the judges had only about 2,500 words on their master list. This won him a television set for his school and enough candy bars for his entire school.[13]

Education

Knuth had a difficult time choosing physics over music as his major at Case Institute of Technology (now part of Case Western Reserve University). He also joined Beta Nu Chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity. While studying physics at the Case Institute of Technology, Knuth was introduced to the IBM 650, one of the early mainframes. After reading the computer's manual, Knuth decided to rewrite the assembly and compiler code for the machine used in his school, because he believed he could do it better.[14] In 1958, Knuth constructed a program based on the value of each player that could help his school basketball team win the league. This was so novel a proposition at the time that it got picked up and published by Newsweek and also covered by Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News.[14] Knuth was one of the founding editors of the Engineering and Science Review, which won a national award as best technical magazine in 1959.[15] He then switched from physics to mathematics, and in 1960 he received his bachelor of science degree, simultaneously being given a master of science degree by a special award of the faculty who considered his work exceptionally outstanding.[14][16]

In 1963, he earned a PhD in mathematics (his advisor was Marshall Hall)[4] from the California Institute of Technology.[17]

Early work

After receiving his PhD, Knuth joined Caltech's faculty as an associate professor.

He accepted a commission to write a book on computer programming language compilers. While working on this project, Knuth decided that he could not adequately treat the topic without first developing a fundamental theory of computer programming, which became The Art of Computer Programming. He originally planned to publish this as a single book. As Knuth developed his outline for the book, he concluded that he required six volumes, and then seven, to thoroughly cover the subject. He published the first volume in 1968.

Just before publishing the first volume of The Art of Computer Programming, Knuth left Caltech to accept employment with the Institute for Defense Analyses' Communications Research Division, then situated on the Princeton University campus, which was performing mathematical research in cryptography to support the National Security Agency.

Knuth then left this position to join the Stanford University faculty.

Writings

The Art of Computer Programming (TAOCP)

Computer science was then taking its first hesitant steps. "It was a totally new field," Knuth recalls, "with no real identity. And the standard of available publications was not that high. A lot of the papers coming out were quite simply wrong. [...] So one of my motivations was to put straight a story that had been very badly told."

After producing the third volume of his series in 1976, he expressed such frustration with the nascent state of the then newly developed electronic publishing tools (especially those that provided input to phototypesetters) that he took time out to work on typesetting and created the TeX and METAFONT tools.

As of 2013, the first three volumes and part one of volume four of his series have been published.[18] Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science 2nd ed., which originated with an expansion of the mathematical preliminaries section of Volume 1 of TAoCP, has also been published.

Other works

He is also the author of Surreal Numbers,[19] a mathematical novelette on John Conway's set theory construction of an alternate system of numbers. Instead of simply explaining the subject, the book seeks to show the development of the mathematics. Knuth wanted the book to prepare students for doing original, creative research.

In 1995, Knuth wrote the foreword to the book A=B by Marko Petkovsek, Herbert Wilf and Doron Zeilberger.[20] Knuth is also an occasional contributor of language puzzles to Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics.

Religious beliefs and work

In addition to his writings on computer science, Knuth, a Lutheran,[21] is also the author of 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated,[22] in which he examines the Bible by a process of systematic sampling, namely an analysis of chapter 3, verse 16 of each book. Each verse is accompanied by a rendering in calligraphic art, contributed by a group of calligraphers under the leadership of Hermann Zapf.

Subsequently he was invited to give a set of lectures on his 3:16<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> project, resulting in another book, Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About, where he published the lectures "God and Computer Science".

Health concerns

In 2006, Knuth was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent surgery in December that year and started "a little bit of radiation therapy... as a precaution but the prognosis looks pretty good", as he reported in his video autobiography.[23]

Computer musings

Knuth gives informal lectures a few times a year at Stanford University, which he called Computer Musings. He is a visiting professor at the Oxford University Department of Computer Science in the United Kingdom and an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College.[24][25]

Humor

"Nested parens"—Donald Knuth and Jacob Appelbaum and Donald Knuth

Knuth used to pay a finder's fee of $2.56 for any typographical errors or mistakes discovered in his books, because "256 pennies is one hexadecimal dollar", and $0.32 for "valuable suggestions". According to an article in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review, these Knuth reward checks are "among computerdom's most prized trophies". Knuth had to stop sending real checks in 2008 due to bank fraud, and instead now gives each error finder a "certificate of deposit" from a publicly listed balance in his fictitious "Bank of San Serriffe".[26]

He once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it."[27]

Knuth published his first "scientific" article in a school magazine in 1957 under the title "Potrzebie System of Weights and Measures." In it, he defined the fundamental unit of length as the thickness of Mad No. 26, and named the fundamental unit of force "whatmeworry." Mad published the article in issue No. 33 (June 1957).[28]

To demonstrate the concept, Knuth intentionally referred "Circular definition" and "Definition, circular" to each other in the index of The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 1.

At the TUG 2010 Conference, Knuth announced an XML-based successor to TeX, titled "iTeX" (pronounced [iː˨˩˦tɛks˧˥], with a bell ringing), which would support features such as arbitrarily scaled irrational units, 3D printing, animation, and stereophonic sound.[29][30][31]

Awards and honors

In 1971, Knuth was the recipient of the first ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award. He has received various other awards including the Turing Award, the National Medal of Science, the John von Neumann Medal, and the Kyoto Prize.

In recognition of Knuth's contributions to the field of computer science, in 1990 he was awarded the one-of-a-kind academic title of Professor of The Art of Computer Programming, which has since been revised to Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming.

Knuth was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1975. In 1992, he became an associate of the French Academy of Sciences. Also that year, he retired from regular research and teaching at Stanford University in order to finish The Art of Computer Programming. He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2003.[6]

Knuth was elected as a Fellow (first class of Fellows) of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 2009 for his outstanding contributions to mathematics.[32] He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[33] In 2012, he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[34] Other awards and honors include:

Publications

A short list of his publications:[43]

The Art of Computer Programming

  1. ——— (1997), The Art of Computer Programming, 1: Fundamental Algorithms (3rd ed.), Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-89683-4<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  2. ——— (1997), The Art of Computer Programming, 2: Seminumerical Algorithms (3rd ed.), Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-89684-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  3. ——— (1998), The Art of Computer Programming, 3: Sorting and Searching (2nd ed.), Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-89685-0<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  4. ——— (2011), The Art of Computer Programming, 4A: Combinatorial Algorithms, Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-03804-8<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  5. ——— (2005), MMIX—A RISC Computer for the New Millennium, 1, Fascicle 1, ISBN 0-201-85392-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  6. ——— (2008), The Art of Computer Programming, 4, Fascicle 0: Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and Boolean Functions, ISBN 0-321-53496-4<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  7. ——— (2009), The Art of Computer Programming, 4, Fascicle 1: Bitwise Tricks & Techniques; Binary Decision Diagrams, ISBN 0-321-58050-8<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  8. ——— (2005), The Art of Computer Programming, 4, Fascicle 2: Generating All Tuples and Permutations, ISBN 0-201-85393-0<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  9. ——— (2005), The Art of Computer Programming, 4, Fascicle 3: Generating All Combinations and Partitions, ISBN 0-201-85394-9<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  10. ——— (2006), The Art of Computer Programming, 4, Fascicle 4: Generating All Trees—History of Combinatorial Generation, ISBN 0-321-33570-8<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  11. ——— (2015), The Art of Computer Programming, 4, Fascicle 6: Satisfiability, ISBN 0-134-39760-6<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.

Computers and Typesetting

All books are hardcover unless otherwise noted.

  1. ——— (1984), Computers & Typesetting, A, The TeXbook, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-13447-0<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, x+483pp.
  2. ——— (1984), Computers & Typesetting, A, The TeXbook, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-13448-9<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (softcover).
  3. ——— (1986), Computers & Typesetting, B, TeX: The Program, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-13437-3<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, xviii+600pp.
  4. ——— (1986), Computers & Typesetting, C, The METAFONTbook, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-13445-4<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, xii+361pp.
  5. ——— (1986), Computers & Typesetting, C, The METAFONTbook, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-13444-6<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (softcover).
  6. ——— (1986), Computers & Typesetting, D, METAFONT: The Program, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-13438-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, xviii+566pp.
  7. ——— (1986), Computers & Typesetting, E, Computer Modern Typefaces, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-13446-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, xvi+588pp.
  8. ——— (2000), Computers & Typesetting, A-E Boxed Set, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-73416-8<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.

Selected papers

  1. ——— (1992), Literate Programming, Lecture Notes (27), Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI, ISBN 0-937073-80-6<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[44]
  2. ——— (1996), Selected Papers on Computer Science, Lecture Notes (59), Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI, ISBN 1-881526-91-7<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[45]
  3. ——— (1999), Digital Typography, Lecture Notes (78), Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI, ISBN 1-57586-010-4<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[46]
  4. ——— (2000), Selected Papers on Analysis of Algorithms, Lecture Notes (102), Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI, ISBN 1-57586-212-3<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[47]
  5. ——— (2003), Selected Papers on Computer Languages (cloth)|format= requires |url= (help), Lecture Notes (139), Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI, ISBN 1-57586-381-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, ISBN 1-57586-382-0 (paperback)[48]
  6. ——— (2003), Selected Papers on Discrete Mathematics (cloth)|format= requires |url= (help), Lecture Notes (106), Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI, ISBN 1-57586-249-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, ISBN 1-57586-248-4 (paperback)[49]
  7. Donald E. Knuth, Selected Papers on Design of Algorithms (Stanford, California: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI Lecture Notes, no. 191), 2010. ISBN 1-57586-583-1 (cloth), ISBN 1-57586-582-3 (paperback)[50]
  8. Donald E. Knuth, Selected Papers on Fun and Games (Stanford, California: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI Lecture Notes, no. 192), 2011. ISBN 978-1-57586-585-0 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-57586-584-3 (paperback)[51]
  9. Donald E. Knuth, Companion to the Papers of Donald Knuth (Stanford, California: Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI Lecture Notes, no. 202), 2011. ISBN 978-1-57586-635-2 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-57586-634-5 (paperback)[52]
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value). xiv+657 pp.
  • Knuth, Donald Ervin (1974), Surreal numbers: how two ex-students turned on to pure mathematics and found total happiness: a mathematical novelette, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 978-0-201-03812-5<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[53]
  • Donald E. Knuth, The Stanford GraphBase: A Platform for Combinatorial Computing (New York, ACM Press) 1993. second paperback printing 2009. ISBN 0-321-60632-9
  • Donald E. Knuth, 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated (Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions), 1990. ISBN 0-89579-252-4
  • Donald E. Knuth, Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About (Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI Lecture Notes no 136), 2001. ISBN 1-57586-326-X

Gallery

See also

References

  1. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  2. Knuth, Donald Ervin (1980). Ji Suan Ji Cheng Xu She Ji Ji Qiao [The Art of Computer Programming]. Translated by Guan, JiWen; Su, Yunlin. Beijing: Defense Industry Publishing Co. I fondly hope that many Chinese computer programmers will learn to recognize my Chinese name Gao Dena, which was given to me by Francis Yao just before I visited your country in 1977. I still have very fond memories of that three-week visit, and I have been glad to see Gao Dena on the masthead of the Journal of Computer Science and Technology since 1989. This name makes me feel close to all Chinese people although I cannot speak your language.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Knuth, Donald Ervin. "Frequently Asked Questions". Home page. Stanford University. Retrieved 2010-11-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Donald Knuth at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Donald Knuth: 1998 Fellow". Computer History Museum. 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Professor Donald Knuth ForMemRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  10. Knuth, Donald Ervin, Curriculum vitae, Stanford University<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  11. "Professor Donald Knuth's Thinking Against Software Patents" (PDF), Notices (article), The American Mathematical Society, March 2002<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  12. Knuth, Donald Ervin, Against software patents (PDF) (Letters)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> to the patent offices in the USA and Europe.
  13. Shasha, Dennis Elliott; Lazere, Cathy A (1998), Out of their minds: the lives and discoveries of 15 great computer scientists, Springer, p. 90, ISBN 978-0-387-98269-4<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Koshy, Thomas (2004), Discrete mathematics with applications, Academic Press, p. 244, ISBN 978-0-12-421180-3, retrieved July 30, 2011<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "History of Beta Nu Chapter", The Tachi, CWRU<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
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  17. Knuth, Donald Ervin (1963), Finite Semifields and Projective Planes (PDF) (PhD dissertation), Caltech<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
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  20. Zeilberg, DEK, Rutgers<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  21. Platoni 2006.
  22. Knuth, Donald Ervin (1991), 3:16 : Bible texts illuminated, Madison, WI: A-R Eds, ISBN 978-0-89579-252-5<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  28. Knuth, Donald Ervin (June 1957), "Potrzebie System of Weights & Measures", Mad Magazine (33)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  29. "Don Knuth", TUG (conference), Zeeba TV, 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  30. Knuth, Donald Ervin, An Earth‐shaking announcement (video) (recording), Zeeba TV<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
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  37. Josiah Willard Gibbs Lectures
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  41. "Galardonados", Fronteras (in Spanish), ES: FBBVA, 2010 <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  42. Myers, Andrew (June 1, 2001). "Stanford's Don Knuth, a pioneering hero of computer programming". Stanford Report. Retrieved June 27, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Books", Home page (list)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  44. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Literate Programming", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  45. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Selected Papers on Computer Science", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  46. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Digital Typography", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  47. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Selected Papers on Analysis of Algorithms", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  48. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Selected Papers on Computer Languages", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  49. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Selected Papers on Discrete Mathematics", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  50. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Selected Papers on Design of Algorithms", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  51. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Selected Papers on Fun and Games", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  52. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Companion to the Papers of Donald Knuth"]", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  53. Knuth, Donald Ervin, "Surreal numbers", Home page<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.

Bibliography

  • Knuth, Donald Ervin, Home page, Stanford University<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  • Knuth, Donald Ervin. "The Art of Computer Programming (TAOCP)". Retrieved May 20, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Platoni, Kara (May–June 2006), Archibald, Timothy photogr, "Love at First Byte", Stanford Magazine, Stanford Alumni<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>. A retrospective of Knuth's life and work, with some rare, recent photos.

External links