Donald Ervin Knuth, a renowned computer scientist as well as Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, is the creator of the WEB/CWEB computer programming systems and the most sophisticated digital typographical system named TeX computer typesetting system. He is widely acknowledged as the “father” of the analysis of algorithms for his contribution to the advancement of the meticulous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms He has also designed a computer named MMIX which illustrates machine-level aspects of programming and the author of the multi-volume work The Art of Computer Programming. He has also written a mathematical novelette named Surreal Numbers on John Conway’s set theory construction of an alternate system of numbers. The idea behind explaining the development process of the mathematics in this book was to give students the opportunity to do the creative and original research.
Knuth once said “Let us change our traditional attitude to the construction of programs. 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.”
He has been honored with various other awards such as the Turing Award, the John von Neumann Medal, the National Medal of Science, and the Kyoto Prize. In 1990, the one-of-a-kind academic title of Professor of The Art of Computer Programming for his significant contribution in computer science and several more.
Knuth is also famous for his ‘professional humours’ and regularly gives informal lectures at Stanford University. According to MIT, “he used to pay a finder’s fee of $2.56 for pointing out any typographical errors or mistakes in his books,and would pay $0.32 for “valuable suggestions”.
Donald Knuth Quotes
“Let us change our traditional attitude to the construction of programs. 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.”
“People think that computer science is the art of geniuses but the actual reality is the opposite, just many people doing things that build on each other, like a wall of mini stones.”