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Donald Ervin Knuth ( ; born January 10, 1938) is an American
computer scientist A computer scientist is a person who has acquired the knowledge of computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques ...
,
mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained ( ...

mathematician
, and
professor emeritus ''Emeritus'' (; female: ''Emerita''), in its current usage, is an adjective used to designate a retired chair, professor, pastor, bishop, pope, director, president, prime minister, rabbi, emperor, or other person who has been "permitted to retai ...
at
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
. He is the 1974 recipient of the ACM Turing Award, informally considered the
Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, busines ...
of computer science. Knuth has been called the "father of the
analysis of algorithms Graphs of functions commonly used in the analysis of algorithms, showing the number of operations ''N'' versus input size ''n'' for each function In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, al ...
". He is the author of the multi-volume work ''
The Art of Computer Programming ''The Art of Computer Programming'' (''TAOCP'') is a comprehensive monograph written by computer scientist Donald Knuth that covers many kinds of Computer programming, programming algorithms and analysis of algorithms, their analysis. Knuth began ...
''. 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 Big O notation is a mathematical notation that describes the asymptotic analysis, limiting behavior of a function (mathematics), function when the Argument of a function, argument tends towards a particular value or infinity. Big O is a member of ...
. In addition to fundamental contributions in several branches of
theoretical computer science Theoretical computer science (TCS) is a subset of general computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for the ...

theoretical computer science
, Knuth is the creator of the
TeX TeX (, see below), stylized within the system as TeX, is a typesetting system which was designed and mostly written by Donald Knuth and released in 1978. TeX is a popular means of typesetting complex mathematical formulae; it has been noted ...
computer typesetting system, the related
METAFONT Metafont is a page description language, description language used to define raster fonts. It is also the name of the interpreter (computer software), interpreter that executes Metafont code, generating the bitmap fonts that can be embedded into e. ...

METAFONT
font definition language and rendering system, and the
Computer Modern Computer Modern is the original family of typeface A typeface is the design of lettering that can include variations, such as extra bold, bold, regular, light, italic, condensed, extended, etc. Each of these variations of the typeface is a fon ...

Computer Modern
family of typefaces. As a writer and scholar, Knuth created the
WEB Web most often refers to: * Spider web A spider web, spiderweb, spider's web, or cobweb (from the archaic word '' coppe'', meaning "spider") is a structure created by a spider Spiders ( order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropod An ar ...

WEB
and
CWEB Web is a computer programming Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a particular task. Programming involves tasks such as analysis ...
computer programming systems designed to encourage and facilitate
literate programming Literate programming is a programming paradigm Programming paradigms are a way to classify programming languages based on their features. Languages can be classified into multiple paradigms. Some paradigms are concerned mainly with implica ...
, and designed the
MIX MIX is a hypothetical computer used in Donald Knuth's monograph, '' The Art of Computer Programming'' (''TAOCP''). MIX's model number is 1009, which was derived by combining the model numbers and names of several contemporaneous, commercial machi ...
/
MMIX MMIX (pronounced ''em-mix'') is a 64-bit reduced instruction set computing (RISC) Computer architecture, architecture designed by Donald Knuth, with significant contributions by John L. Hennessy (who contributed to the design of the MIPS architec ...
instruction set architectures In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of Algo ...
. Knuth strongly opposes the granting of
software patent A software patent is a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years in exchange fo ...
s, having expressed his opinion to the
United States Patent and Trademark Office The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patent A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using ...
and
European Patent Organisation The European Patent Organisation (sometimes abbreviated EPOrg in order to distinguish it from the European Patent Office, one of the two organs of the organisation) is a public international intellectual property organisation, organisation created ...

European Patent Organisation
.


Biography


Early life

Knuth was born in
Milwaukee Milwaukee ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in ...

Milwaukee
,
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Wisconsin
, to Ervin Henry Knuth and Louise Marie Bohning. He describes his heritage as "Midwestern Lutheran German". His father owned a small printing business and taught bookkeeping. Donald, a student at
Milwaukee Lutheran High School Milwaukee Lutheran High School (MLHS) is a secondary school located in Milwaukee, in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The school was originally known as Lutheran High School (Milwaukee), Lutheran High School (LHS). LHS was established in 1903, making ...
, thought of ingenious ways to solve 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; the judges had identified 2,500 such words. With time gained away from school due to a pretend stomach ache, and working the problem the other way, Knuth used an unabridged dictionary and determined if each dictionary entry could be formed using the letters in the phrase. Using this algorithm, he identified over 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 received a scholarship in physics to the
Case Institute of Technology Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is a Private university, private research university in Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio. It was created in 1967 through the federation of two longstanding contiguous institutions: Western Reserve University, foun ...
(now part of
Case Western Reserve University Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an abse ...
) in
Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North ...

Cleveland
, Ohio, enrolling in 1956. He also joined Beta Nu Chapter of the
Theta Chi fraternity Theta Chi (ΘΧ) is an international Fraternities and sororities, college fraternity. It was founded on April 10, 1856 at Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont, and has initiated more than 191,000 members and currently has over 8,000 undergraduate ...
. While studying physics at Case, Knuth was introduced to the
IBM 650 IBM 650 console panel, showing bi-quinary indicators. (At House for the History of IBM Data Processing (closed), Sindelfingen) The IBM 650 Magnetic Drum Data-Processing Machine is an early digital computer A computer is a machine A m ...
, an early commercial
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These ...

computer
. 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 ''Newsweek'' is an American weekly founded in 1933, and was widely distributed through the 20th century, with many notable editors-in-chief. In 1961 the magazine was acquired by and remained under its ownership until 2010. Between 2008 and 20 ...
'' and ''
CBS Evening News ''The CBS Evening News'' is the flagship evening News broadcasting#Television, television news program of CBS News, the news division of the CBS television network in the United States. The ''CBS Evening News'' is a daily evening broadcast featurin ...

CBS Evening News
'' later reported on. Knuth was one of the founding editors of Case Institute's ''Engineering and Science Review'', which won a national award as best technical magazine in 1959. He then switched from physics to mathematics, and received two degrees from Case in 1960: his bachelor of science degree, and simultaneously a master of science 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 The California Institute of Technology (Caltech)The university itself only spells its short form as "Caltech"; other spellings such a"Cal Tech" and "CalTech" are incorrect. The Institute is also occasionally referred to as "CIT", most notably ...
.


Early work

After receiving his PhD, Knuth joined Caltech's faculty as an assistant professor. He accepted a commission to write a book on computer
programming language A programming language is a formal language In logic, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics, a formal language consists of string (computer science), words whose symbol (formal), letters are taken from an alphabet (computer science) ...

programming language
compiler In computing, a compiler is a computer program that Translator (computing), translates computer code written in one programming language (the ''source'' language) into another language (the ''target'' language). The name "compiler" is primarily ...

compiler
s. 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 ''The Art of Computer Programming'' (''TAOCP'') is a comprehensive monograph written by computer scientist Donald Knuth that covers many kinds of Computer programming, programming algorithms and analysis of algorithms, their analysis. Knuth began ...
''. 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 Princeton University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly tw ...

Princeton University
campus, which was performing mathematical research in
cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logia ''-logy'' is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Greek ending in (''- ...

cryptography
to support the
National Security Agency The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, ...

National Security Agency
. In 1967, Knuth attended a Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics conference and someone asked what he did. At the time, computer science was partitioned into numerical analysis, artificial intelligence and programming languages. Based on his study and ''The Art of Computer Programming'' book, Knuth decided the next time someone asked he would say, "Analysis of algorithms." Knuth then left his position to join the
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
faculty in 1969, where he is now Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus.


Writings

Knuth is a writer, as well as a computer scientist.


''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." From 1972 to 1973, Knuth spent a year at the
University of Oslo The University of Oslo ( no, Universitetet i Oslo; la, Universitas Osloensis) is a public university, public research university located in Oslo, Norway. It is the List of oldest universities in continuous operation#Europe, oldest university in ...
among people such as
Ole-Johan Dahl Ole-Johan Dahl (12 October 1931 – 29 June 2002) was a Norwegian computer scientist. Dahl was a professor of computer science at the University of Oslo and is considered to be one of the fathers of Simula and object-oriented programming along wi ...
. Here he was to actually write the seventh volume in his book series, a volume that was to deal with programming languages. However, Knuth had only finished the first two volumes when he came to Oslo, and thus spent the year on the third volume, next to teaching. The third volume in the series came out just after Knuth returned to Stanford in 1973. By 2011, 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. In April 2020, Knuth said he is hard at work on part B of volume 4, and he anticipates that the book will have at least parts A through F.


Other works

Knuth is also the author of ''
Surreal Numbers In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...
'', a mathematical novelette on John Conway's
set theory Set theory is the branch of mathematical logic that studies Set (mathematics), sets, which can be informally described as collections of objects. Although objects of any kind can be collected into a set, set theory, as a branch of mathematics, i ...
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 Herbert Saul Wilf (June 13, 1931 – January 7, 2012) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (n ...

Herbert Wilf
and
Doron Zeilberger Doron Zeilberger (דורון ציילברגר, born 2 July 1950 in Haifa Haifa ( he, חֵיפָה ' ; ar, حيفا ') is the List of cities in Israel, third-largest city in Israel—after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv—with a population of in . ...
. Knuth is also an occasional contributor of language puzzles to '' Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics''. Knuth has also delved into
recreational mathematics Recreational mathematics is mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical ...
. He contributed articles to the ''
Journal of Recreational Mathematics The ''Journal of Recreational Mathematics'' was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commo ...
'' beginning in the 1960s, and was acknowledged as a major contributor in Joseph Madachy's ''Mathematics on Vacation''. Knuth has also appeared in a number of
Numberphile ''Numberphile'' is an educational Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storyte ...
and Computerphile videos on
YouTube YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform Social media are interactive technologies that allow the Content creation, creation or information sharing, sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, an ...

YouTube
where he has discussed topics from writing Surreal Numbers to why he does not use email.


Works regarding his religious beliefs

In addition to his writings on computer science, Knuth, a
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology ...
, is also the author of ''3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated'', in which he examines the Bible by a process of
systematic samplingIn survey methodology, systematic sampling is a statistics, statistical method involving the selection of elements from an ordered sampling frame. The most common form of systematic sampling is an equiprobability method. In this approach, progression ...

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 Hermann Zapf (; 8 November 1918 – 4 June 2015) was a German type designer and calligraphy, calligrapher who lived in Darmstadt, Germany. He was married to the calligrapher and typeface designer Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse. Typefaces he designed ...
. Subsequently, he was invited to give a set of lectures at MIT on his views on religion and computer science behind his 3:16 project, resulting in another book, ''
Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About ''Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About'' (2001) is a book by Donald E. Knuth, published by CSLI Publications of Stanford, California. The book contains the annotated transcripts of six public lectures given by Donald E. Knuth at MIT on th ...
'', where he published the lectures ''"God and Computer Science"''.


Opinion on software patents

Knuth is strongly opposed to the policy of granting
software patent A software patent is a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years in exchange fo ...
s for trivial solutions that should be obvious, but has expressed more nuanced views for nontrivial solutions such as the
interior-point methodInterior-point methods (also referred to as barrier methods or IPMs) are a certain class of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algorithm) for calculating the greatest common divisor (g.c.d.) of two numbers ''a'' and ''b'' in locations named A and ...
of
linear programming Linear programming (LP, also called linear optimization) is a method to achieve the best outcome (such as maximum profit or lowest cost) in a mathematical model A mathematical model is a description of a system A system is a group of ...
. He has expressed his disagreement directly to both the
United States Patent and Trademark Office The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patent A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using ...
and
European Patent Organisation The European Patent Organisation (sometimes abbreviated EPOrg in order to distinguish it from the European Patent Office, one of the two organs of the organisation) is a public international intellectual property organisation, organisation created ...

European Patent Organisation
.


Computer Musings

Knuth gives informal lectures a few times a year at
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
, which he titled "Computer Musings". He was a visiting professor at the
Oxford University Department of Computer Science The Department of Computer Science is the computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. ...
in the United Kingdom until 2017 and an Honorary Fellow of
Magdalen College Magdalen College ( ) is a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete. Today, it is the fourth wealthiest college, with a financial endowment of £332.1 ...

Magdalen College
.


Programming


Digital typesetting

In the 1970s the publishers of TAOCP abandoned
Monotype Monotyping is a type of printmaking , ''Self-portrait'', etching, c.1630 Printmaking is the process of creating work of art, artworks by printing, normally on paper, but also on fabric, wood, metal, and other surfaces. "Traditional printmak ...
in favor of
phototypesetting Phototypesetting is a method of setting type, rendered obsolete with the popularity of the personal computer A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Perso ...
. Knuth became so frustrated with the inability of the latter system to approach the quality of the previous volumes, which were typeset using the older system, that he took time out to work on digital typesetting and created
TeX TeX (, see below), stylized within the system as TeX, is a typesetting system which was designed and mostly written by Donald Knuth and released in 1978. TeX is a popular means of typesetting complex mathematical formulae; it has been noted ...
and
Metafont Metafont is a page description language, description language used to define raster fonts. It is also the name of the interpreter (computer software), interpreter that executes Metafont code, generating the bitmap fonts that can be embedded into e. ...

Metafont
.


Literate programming

While developing TeX, Knuth created a new methodology of programming, which he called
literate programming Literate programming is a programming paradigm Programming paradigms are a way to classify programming languages based on their features. Languages can be classified into multiple paradigms. Some paradigms are concerned mainly with implica ...
, because he believed that programmers should think of programs as works of literature. "Instead of imagining that our main task is to instruct a computer what to do, let us concentrate rather on explaining to human beings what we want a computer to do." Knuth embodied the idea of literate programming in the
WEB Web most often refers to: * Spider web A spider web, spiderweb, spider's web, or cobweb (from the archaic word '' coppe'', meaning "spider") is a structure created by a spider Spiders ( order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropod An ar ...

WEB
system. The same WEB source is used to ''weave'' a TeX file, and to ''tangle'' a
Pascal Pascal, Pascal's or PASCAL may refer to: People and fictional characters * Pascal (given name), including a list of people with the name * Pascal (surname), including a list of people and fictional characters with the name ** Blaise Pascal, French ...
source file. These in their turn produce a readable description of the program and an executable binary respectively. A later iteration of the system,
CWEB Web is a computer programming Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a particular task. Programming involves tasks such as analysis ...
, replaces Pascal with C. Knuth used WEB to program TeX and METAFONT, and published both programs as books: ''The TeXbook'', which is originally published in 1984, and ''The METAFONTbook'', which is originally published in 1986. Around the same time,
LaTeX Latex is a stable dispersion (emulsion An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally Miscibility, immiscible (unmixable or unblendable) owing to liquid-liquid phase separation. Emulsions are part of a more general class o ...

LaTeX
, the now-widely adopted macro package based on TeX, was first developed by
Leslie Lamport Leslie B. Lamport (born February 7, 1941) is an American computer scientist A computer scientist is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or ...

Leslie Lamport
, who later published its first user manual in 1986.


Music

Knuth is an
organist An organist is a musician who plays any type of organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in org ...
and a
composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music in any form, including vocal music (for a Singing, singer or choir), instrumental mus ...

composer
. In 2016 he completed a musical piece for
organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (biology) In biology, an organ is a collection of Tissue (biology), tissues joined in a structural unit to serve a common function. In the biological organization , hierarchy of life, an organ lies betwee ...
titled ''Fantasia Apocalyptica'', which he describes as "translation of the Greek text of the
Revelation of Saint John the Divine The Book of Revelation (also called the Apocalypse of John, Revelation to John or Revelation from Jesus Christ) is the final book of the New Testament, and consequently is also the final book of the Christian Bible. Its title is derived from ...
into music". It was premièred in
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
on January 10, 2018.


Personal life

Donald Knuth married Nancy Jill Carter on 24 June 1961, while he was a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology. They have two children: John Martin Knuth and Jennifer Sierra Knuth.


Chinese name

Knuth's
Chinese name Chinese personal names are names used by those from Greater China "Greater China" is an informal geographical area that shares commercial and cultural ties with the Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East As ...
is
Gao Gao , or Gawgaw/Kawkaw, is a city in Mali Mali (; ), officially the Republic of Mali (french: République du Mali; bm, ߡߊߟߌ ߞߊ ߝߊߛߏߖߊߡߊߣߊ, Mali ka Fasojamana, ff, 𞤈𞤫𞤲𞥆𞤣𞤢𞥄𞤲𞤣𞤭 𞤃𞤢𞥄𞤤 ...
Dena (). In 1977, he was given this name by Frances Yao, shortly before making a 3-week trip to
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. In the 1980 Chinese translation of Volume 1 of ''The Art of Computer Programming'' (), 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'' 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 Prostate cancer is cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumor A benign tumor is a mass of cells Cell most o ...

prostate cancer
. He underwent surgery in December that year and stated, "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 In the United States, a finder's fee is the Remuneration, compensation given to an intermediary in a business transaction. Usually, there is a causal relationship between the one party and the intermediary (the ''finder''), another relationship bet ...
of $2.56 for any typographical errors or mistakes discovered in his books, because "256 pennies is one
hexadecimal In mathematics and computing, the hexadecimal (also base 16 or hex) numeral system is a Numeral system#Positional systems in detail, positional numeral system that represents numbers using a radix (base) of 16. Unlike the decimal system repres ...
dollar", and $0.32 for "valuable suggestions". According to an article in the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
's ''Technology Review'', these
Knuth reward check Knuth reward checks are check Check or cheque, may refer to: Places * Check, Virginia Arts, entertainment, and media * Check (film), ''Check'' (film), a 2021 Indian Telugu-language film * ''The Checks'' (episode), a 1996 TV episode of ''Seinfeld' ...
s 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 San Serriffe is a fictional country, fictional island nation created for April Fools' Day 1977, by Britain's ''The Guardian, Guardian'' newspaper.''The Guardian'Special Report: San Serriffe. 1 April 1977 It was featured in a seven-page hoax supple ...
". 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 "The Potrzebie System of Weights and Measures". In it, he defined the fundamental unit of
length Length is a measure of distance Distance is a numerical measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event, which can be us ...

length
as the thickness of '' Mad'' No. 26, and named the fundamental unit of
force In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion (physics), motion of an Physical object, object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (e.g. moving from a Newton's first law, state of rest), i.e., to acce ...

force
"whatmeworry". ''Mad'' published the article in issue No. 33 (June 1957). To demonstrate the concept of
recursion Recursion (adjective: ''recursive'') occurs when a thing is defined in terms of itself or of its type. Recursion is used in a variety of disciplines ranging from linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning tha ...

recursion
, Knuth intentionally referred "Circular definition" and "Definition, circular" to each other in the index of ''
The Art of Computer Programming ''The Art of Computer Programming'' (''TAOCP'') is a comprehensive monograph written by computer scientist Donald Knuth that covers many kinds of Computer programming, programming algorithms and analysis of algorithms, their analysis. Knuth began ...
, Volume 1''. The preface of ''
Concrete Mathematics ''Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science'', by Ronald Graham, Donald Knuth, and Oren Patashnik, first published in 1989, is a textbook that is widely used in computer-science departments as a substantive but light-hearted treatm ...
'' has the following paragraph: At the TUG 2010 Conference, Knuth announced a satirical
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
-based successor to TeX, titled "iTeX" (, performed with a bell ringing), which would support features such as arbitrarily scaled irrational units,
3D printing 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computers (or ) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. T ...
, 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 The Grace Murray Hopper Award (named for computer pioneer RADM Grace Hopper) has been awarded by the Association for Computing Machinery The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international learned society for computing. It ...
.Walden, David
"Donald (‘Don’) Ervin Knuth"
, '' ACMTuring''. Retrieved on 27 October 2019.
He has received various other awards including the Turing Award, the National Medal of Science, the John von Neumann Medal, and the Kyoto Prize. Knuth was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society (DFBCS) in 1980 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. He was also elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1981 for organizing vast subject areas of computer science so that they are accessible to all segments of the computing community. 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 Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
in order to finish ''
The Art of Computer Programming ''The Art of Computer Programming'' (''TAOCP'') is a comprehensive monograph written by computer scientist Donald Knuth that covers many kinds of Computer programming, programming algorithms and analysis of algorithms, their analysis. Knuth began ...
''. He was elected a List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 2003, 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 and a member of the American Philosophical Society. Other awards and honors include: * First ACM
Grace Murray Hopper Award The Grace Murray Hopper Award (named for computer pioneer RADM Grace Hopper) has been awarded by the Association for Computing Machinery The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international learned society for computing. It ...
, 1971 * Turing Award, 1974 * Lester R. Ford Award, 1975 and 1993 * Josiah Willard Gibbs Lectureship, Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecturer, 1978 * National Medal of Science, 1979 * Golden Plate Award of the Academy of Achievement, American Academy of Achievement, 1985 * Franklin Medal, 1988 * John von Neumann Medal, 1995 * Harvey Prize from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Technion, 1995 * Kyoto Prize, 1996 * Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for his fundamental early work in the history of computing algorithms, development of the TeX typesetting language, and for major contributions to mathematics and computer science." 1998 * Asteroid 21656 Knuth, named in his honor in May 2001 * Katayanagi Prize, 2010 * BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the category of Information and Communication Technologies, 2010 * Turing Lecture, 2011 * Stanford University School of Engineering Hero Award, 2011


Publications

A short list of his publications include: ''The Art of Computer Programming'': # # # # # # # # # # # # ''Computers and Typesetting'' (all books are hardcover unless otherwise noted): # , x+483pp. # (softcover). # , xviii+600pp. # , xii+361pp. # (softcover). # , xviii+566pp. # , xvi+588pp. # Books of collected papers: # # # # # , (paperback) # , (paperback) # 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. (cloth), (paperback) # 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. (cloth), (paperback) # 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. (cloth), (paperback) Other books: # xiv+657 pp. # # Donald E. Knuth, The Stanford GraphBase: A Platform for Combinatorial Computing (New York, ACM Press) 1993. second paperback printing 2009. # Donald E. Knuth, 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated (Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions), 1990. # Donald E. Knuth,
Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About ''Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About'' (2001) is a book by Donald E. Knuth, published by CSLI Publications of Stanford, California. The book contains the annotated transcripts of six public lectures given by Donald E. Knuth at MIT on th ...
(Center for the Study of Language and Information—CSLI Lecture Notes no 136), 2001. # Donald E. Knuth, MMIXware: A RISC Computer for the Third Millennium (Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag— Lecture Notes in Computer Science, no. 1750), 1999. viii+550pp. # Donald E. Knuth and Silvio Levy, The CWEB System of Structured Documentation (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley), 1993. iv+227pp. . Third printing 2001 with hypertext support, ii + 237 pp. # Donald E. Knuth, Tracy L. Larrabee, and Paul M. Roberts, Mathematical Writing (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America), 1989. ii+115pp # Daniel H. Greene and Donald E. Knuth, Mathematics for the Analysis of Algorithms (Boston: Birkhäuser), 1990. viii+132pp. # Donald E. Knuth, , 1976. 106pp. # Donald E. Knuth, Axioms and Hulls (Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag—Lecture Notes in Computer Science, no. 606), 1992. ix+109pp.


See also

* Asymptotic notation * Attribute grammar * CC system * Dancing Links * Knuth -yllion * Knuth Prize * Knuth shuffle * Knuth's Algorithm X * Knuth's Simpath algorithm * Knuth's up-arrow notation * Dragon curve#Twindragon, Davis–Knuth dragon * Bender–Knuth involution * Trabb Pardo–Knuth algorithm * Fisher–Yates shuffle * Man or boy test * Plactic monoid * Quater-imaginary base *
TeX TeX (, see below), stylized within the system as TeX, is a typesetting system which was designed and mostly written by Donald Knuth and released in 1978. TeX is a popular means of typesetting complex mathematical formulae; it has been noted ...
* Termial * The Complexity of Songs * Uniform binary search * List of pioneers in computer science * List of science and religion scholars


References


Bibliography

* * *


External links


Donald Knuth's home page
at
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
. * * Knuth discusses software patenting, structured programming, collaboration and his development of
TeX TeX (, see below), stylized within the system as TeX, is a typesetting system which was designed and mostly written by Donald Knuth and released in 1978. TeX is a popular means of typesetting complex mathematical formulae; it has been noted ...
. * * * * * * *
Biography of Donald Knuth
from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Donald Ervin Knuth – Stanford Lectures (Archive)

Interview with Donald Knuth
by Lex Fridman * Siobhan Roberts

''The New York Times'', 17 December 2018. {{DEFAULTSORT:Knuth, Donald Ervin Donald Knuth, American computer scientists American computer programmers Mathematics popularizers American people of German descent American technology writers 1938 births Living people Combinatorialists Free software programmers Programming language designers Scientists from California Writers from California Turing Award laureates Grace Murray Hopper Award laureates National Medal of Science laureates Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery Fellows of the American Mathematical Society Fellows of the British Computer Society Fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Kyoto laureates in Advanced Technology Donegall Lecturers of Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin Members of the United States National Academy of Engineering Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences Foreign Members of the Royal Society Foreign Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences Members of the French Academy of Sciences Members of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters Members of the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford Stanford University School of Engineering faculty Stanford University Department of Computer Science faculty California Institute of Technology alumni Case Western Reserve University alumni Scientists from Milwaukee American Lutherans American typographers and type designers Writers from Palo Alto, California 20th-century American mathematicians 21st-century American mathematicians 20th-century American scientists 21st-century American scientists Computer science educators Mad (magazine) people Burroughs Corporation people American organists American composers University of Oslo faculty