Other names 高德纳 Role Computer scientist Name Donald Knuth | Nationality American Spouse Jill Knuth (m. 1961) | |

Fields MathematicsComputer science Alma mater Case Institute of Technology (B.S.; M.S., 1960)California Institute of Technology (PhD, 1963) Thesis Finite Semifields and Projective Planes (1963) Parents Ervin Henry Knuth, Louise Marie Bohning Knuth Books Concrete Mathematics, Literate Programming, The TeXbook, Computers and Typesetting, 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated Similar People |

## Donald Knuth (Computer scientist)

**Donald Ervin Knuth** ( ; born January 10, 1938) is an American computer scientist, mathematician, and professor emeritus at Stanford University.

## Contents

- Donald Knuth Computer scientist
- Donald knuth talks at google
- Early life
- Education
- Early work
- Writings
- The Art of Computer Programming TAOCP
- Other works
- Works regarding Knuths religious beliefs
- Opinion on software patents
- Computer Musings
- Chinese name
- Health concerns
- Humor
- Awards and honors
- Publications
- References

He is the author of the multi-volume work *The Art of Computer Programming*. 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, Knuth created the WEB and CWEB computer programming systems designed to encourage and facilitate literate programming, and designed the MIX/MMIX instruction set architectures. Knuth strongly opposes granting software patents, having expressed his opinion to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and European Patent Organisation.

## Donald knuth talks at google

## Early life

Knuth was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to German-Americans Ervin Henry Knuth and Louise Marie Bohning. His father had two jobs: running a small printing company and teaching bookkeeping at Milwaukee Lutheran High School. Donald, a student at Milwaukee Lutheran High School, received academic accolades there, especially because of the ingenious ways that he thought of solving problems. For example, in eighth grade, he entered a contest to find the number of words that the letters in "Ziegler's Giant Bar" could be rearranged to create. Although the judges only had 2,500 words on their list, Donald found 4,500 words, winning the contest. As prizes, the school received a new television and enough candy bars for all of his schoolmates to eat.

## 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.

In 1958, Knuth created a program to help his school's basketball team win their games. He assigned "values" to players in order to gauge their probability of getting points, a novel approach that *Newsweek* and *CBS Evening News* later reported on.

Knuth was one of the founding editors of the *Engineering and Science Review*, which won a national award as best technical magazine in 1959. 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.

In 1963, with mathematician Marshall Hall as his adviser, he earned a PhD in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology.

## 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, where he is now professor emeritus.

## Writings

Knuth is a writer as well as a computer scientist. Knuth has been called the "father of the analysis of algorithms."

## The Art of Computer Programming (TAOCP)

In the 1970s, Knuth described computer science as "a totally new field 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. By 2013, the first three volumes and part one of volume four of his series had been published. *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.

Bill Gates has praised the difficulty of the subject matter in *The Art of Computer Programming*, stating, "If you think you're a really good programmer ... You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing."

## Other works

Knuth is also the author of *Surreal Numbers*, 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 Petkovšek, Herbert Wilf and Doron Zeilberger. Knuth is also an occasional contributor of language puzzles to *Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics*.

Knuth has also delved into recreational mathematics. He contributed articles to the *Journal of Recreational Mathematics* beginning in the 1960s, and was acknowledged as a major contributor in Joseph Madachy's *Mathematics on Vacation*.

## Works regarding Knuth's religious beliefs

In addition to his writings on computer science, Knuth, a Lutheran, is also the author of *3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated*, 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 project, resulting in another book, *Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About*, where he published the lectures *"God and Computer Science"*.

## Opinion on software patents

As a member of the academic and scientific community, Knuth is strongly opposed to the policy of granting software patents for trivial solutions that should be obvious, but has expressed more nuanced views for nontrivial solutions such as the integer point method of linear programming. He has expressed his disagreement directly to both the United States Patent and Trademark Office and European Patent Organisation.

## Computer Musings

Knuth gives informal lectures a few times a year at Stanford University, which he titled "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.

## Chinese name

Knuth's Chinese name is Gao Dena (simplified Chinese: 高德纳; traditional Chinese: 高德納; pinyin: *Gāo dé nà*). In 1977, he was given this name by Frances Yao, shortly before making a 3-week trip to China. In his 1980 volume of *The Art of Computer Programming* (simplified Chinese: 计算机程序设计艺术; traditional Chinese: 電腦程式設計藝術; pinyin: *Jìsuànjī chéngxù shèjì yìshù*), Knuth explains that he embraced his Chinese name because he wanted to be known by the growing numbers of computer programmers in China at the time. In 1989, his Chinese name was placed atop the *Journal of Computer Science and Technology*'s header, which Knuth says "makes me feel close to all Chinese people although I cannot speak your language".

## 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.

## Humor

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".

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

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).

To demonstrate the concept of recursion, 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 a satirical XML-based successor to TeX, titled "iTeX" (pronounced [iː˨˩˦tɛks˧˥], performed with a bell ringing), which would support features such as arbitrarily scaled irrational units, 3D printing, input from seismographs and heart monitors, animation, and stereophonic sound.

## 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.

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. He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. In 2012, he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Other awards and honors include:

## Publications

A short list of his publications include:

*The Art of Computer Programming*:

*Computers and Typesetting* (all books are hardcover unless otherwise noted):

Books of collected papers:

Other books: