Andrew Binstock interviews Donald Knuth

The inventor of TeX doesn’t believe in designing code for reuse. The man known for his incredible compilation of algorithms, “The Art of Computer Programming,” isn’t a fan of multicore development.

Donald Knuth is a computer scientist’s computer scientist. Nothing compares to the TAOCP, the first three volumes of which occupy a place of pride on my bookshelf.

After finishing up the revising the first three volumes, on Fundamental Algorithms, Seminumerical Algorithms and Searching & Sorting, om 1998, Dr. Knuth resumed working on Volume 4, Combinatorial Algorithms.

It turned out to be a big volume. How big? Who knows?

Today, he’s still only partway though, having completed four sections, or fascicles, of that work, encompassing his vision of the MMIX RISC computer (2005), generating tuples and permutations (2005), generating combinations and partitions (2005) and generating trees (2006).

Addison-Wesley just published Volume 4, Fascicle 0, “Introduction to Combinatorial Algorithms and Boolean Functions,” which is kind of a prequel. It hits the shelves on May 4.

Andrew Binstock, himself an Addison-Wesley author, was invited to interview Dr. Knuth on the occasion of the publication of Fascicle 0. I enjoyed reading the interview, and am sure you will also.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick