- Knuth , Donald Ervin
- (1938–) American computer programmerKnuth showed an early interest in words and numbers. While in the 8th grade he entered a competition to find as many words as possible from the letters in the phrase “Ziegler's Giant Bar” and came up with 4500 – some 2000 more than the judges had compiled. At first he considered devoting himself to music but opted for mathematics and physics, which he studied at Case Institute for Technology, Cleveland, Ohio, and at the California Institute of Technology, where he gained his PhD in 1963. He remained at Cal Tech until 1968, when he moved to Stanford as professor of computer science. He resigned in 1992 to concentrate on writing.In the 1960s Knuth began compiling what is now widely recognized as the fundamental work on computer science, The Art of Computer Programming. It is planned for seven volumes – the first three have already appeared: Fundamental Algorithms(1968), Seminumerical Algorithms (1969), and Sorting and Searching (1973).Having completed the first three volumes, Knuth spent several years exploring typography. He had long been interested in printing and it occurred to him in 1977 that “printing was a computer science problem.” The result was the much-studied book Tex and Metafont (1979) and the five-volume Computers and Typesetting (1986). Metafont allows the user to construct a custom-designed typesetting font. Tex (which Knuth prints as TEX, and which is pronounced ‘tek’) is an automatic typesetting and page makeup program. It is widely available and popular with academic users.Knuth has said that he intends to return to music once he has completed all seven volumes of his computer book – his house is built around a two-storey pipe organ that he designed himself. He has also written a remarkable science-fiction novel, Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned On to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness (1974), based on a number system invented by the mathematician John Conway.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.