Thursday, August 14, 2008

CACM - Donald Knuth Interview

Communications of the ACM (CACM) in July and August's editions published a very good interview with Donald Knuth. The two papers The 'Art' of Being Donald Knuth and Donald Knuth: A Life's Work Interrupted are very interesting.

Don Knuth is an Emeritus Professor at Stanford University and won several awards such as Turing Award (1974) and John von Neumann Medal (1995). He is most known by being the creator of the TeX and author of the seminal The Art of Programming book series.

In his interview, Don comments curious moment in his life such as his path from physics, mathematics until arrive in computer science; his first program in 1950s and its lessons; his disappointment as a teacher; his mentor; his first text written in a motel; and his Ph.D. thesis research taken in one hour ("I felt a little guilty that I had solved my Ph.D. problem in one hour, so I dressed it up with a few other chapters of stuff").

Another good point is when he said: "if you ask me what makes me most happy, number on would be somebody saying: I learned something from you. Number two would be somebody saying: I used your software".


Thiago said...

Nice interviews. But you surprised me with "was an Emeritus Professor"... I thought he had died! He IS a Professor Emeritus!


Eduardo Almeida said...