06 June, 2007

Knuth, that's kuh-nooth.

\begin {article} And if you don't know who Donald Knuth is, just google for him and you'll see how important people think he is. His main passion of life is mathematics, but he also happens to be one of the more important names of computer science. His seminal (if I can use that term loosely) works include the five-part work The Art of Computer Programming, the TeXbook, Concrete Mathematics, and Selected Papers of Discrete Mathematics. There are of course a lot of other books that he has either produced, or at least had a rather large hand in producing. The Art of Computer Programming hasn't been completed yet, as only three volumes have been released so far, with two more volumes to be produced before he re-revises and releases his fourth edition of same. When viewing him in his video presentations (these are available from Stanford, and are linked to from his home page), I feel that he appears diffident, and rather unsure of himself. He quite often seems to be discovering the subject along with his students, though this turns out not to be the case, that he actually is viewing the subject from what commonly appears to be a completely different perspective—one not reached by most of his students. But the moments when his students and himself "get it" can seem almost like an epiphany. And for a mathematician, that's pretty heady stuff. I've also noticed that he also seems to jump around whatever subject he is covering, and seems to want to say a hundred things all at once. However, in contrast his writing appears confident, concise, and of course, accurate. You can hardly be otherwise when you're as famous a mathematician as he seems to be. Or is it Computer Scientist? I'm never quite sure. Any good scientist has hobbies, and he is no different—he owns his own small organ. Yes, it's a real organ. That's also covered in his home page, with its own special section describing it. I'm sure that's not his only hobby, as I've seen web pages devoted to diamond signs (imagine a square turned through 45 degrees, and something in the sign, and you have it), travel, and many other items I can't remember. So, go take a look. \end.

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