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Donald Knuth Check
One of the most fabled computer scientists is Donald Knuth, based in Stanford, California
One of his fabled exploits was/is authoring a classic series of text and reference books:
- "The Art of Computer Programming" -
in 3 classic computer text and reference volumes:
published in 1968 through 1973.
- Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms
- Volume 2: Seminumerical Algorithms
- Volume 3: Sorting and Searching
Fragments of the much awaited
- Volume 4: Combinatorial Algorithms
have been appearing recently. Wikipedia
As an incentive to study the books carefully, Don promised a financial reward to anyone who could find an error.
Knuth reward check
Programming, as well as most human endeavors, is noted for "bugs" -
so indeed the books were studied VERY carefully. However, the books are noted for being complete, tight, and correct.
Check into http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/boss.html ;-))
One of the joys of living in/near "Silicon" or "DataBase" Valley, depending on your viewpoint, is the high percentage of techie people. Several of the people I know have received Knuth Checks.
- Robert Garner
- Ken Shirriff
- Bob Smith
Yet Another Tale about Knuth
I received the check for determining the middle name of an IBM co-author on the earliest published papers on the ASCII character set encoding.
"F. A. Williams” had apparently been on Don’s “most wanted list” for a decade or longer, as he let me know during my precious opportunity to sit with him during a CHM fellows award banquet after informing him that I was working at IBM Almaden Research. After some Watson-style sleuthing that resulted in his sister-in-law contacting me, we learned that the “A” stood for Aloysius.
Yes, you may post them.
One bug was a confusion between NOT-AND and AND-NOT in volume 4a page 574.
The other was suggesting that "erratic" wasn't a good word to describe deterministic faults in hardware logic.
Bob Smith found an error - one might call it trivial, but an error is an error and a promise is a promise :-))
"In the Index and Glossary of Volume 2 of "The Art of Computer Programming", my name appears as Robert Leroy Smith.
"I capitalize both the L and the R in LeRoy. It is really quite trivial. I almost always use the form: "Robert L. Smith". In the very rare case that I am required to use my full name, I write it as "Robert LeRoy Smith". I also note that in Section 4.2.1 he correctly uses the form of Robert L. Smith. The algorithm mentioned does relate to the division of two complex numbers.
"In my scientific papers I always used my middle initial, as in Robert L. Smith. I don't recall ever using my middle name, but always my middle initial. I have no idea how Knuth came up with the partially correct version. I do know that I have occasionally been required to give my complete name, so it undoubtedly appears someplace."
So Bob wrote to Don, mentioned the "bug", and added some more comments about complex division.
Don Knuth "paid off", but of course Bob will never cash such a famous (and valuable?) keepsake.
Bob notes a number of "unusual" items about the check -
- the dollar amount is in hex ;-))
- have you ever heard of that bank? - look it up -
- there is no routing/account MICR line at the bottom
Yet Another Tale about Knuth
Professor Knuth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Knuth used to come to parties given by Grant Saviers http://ibm-1401.info/TeamBios.html#Saviers when Grant lived near San Jose. http://ibm-1401.info/Sched2005October.html#Wednesday%20October%2026th Knuth would sit at the piano and provided classical "background" music. I cannot distinguish the difference between an accomplished amateur pianist and a professional pianist. Apparently, a pipe organ is Knuth's instrument of choice - https://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/organ.htmlVideos: 1, 2