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Knuth Releases Part Of Volume 4 31

Grendel Drago writes: "Donald E. Knuth has released "Pre-Fascicle 2b: Generating all permutations" from TAOCP Volume 4. It will be section of the final work. Oh, and Volume 4 may now fill *four* subvolumes. Send in bugs, get checks for $2.56, tell the grandkids."
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Knuth Releases Part Of Volume 4

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  • by Snowfox ( 34467 ) <> on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @07:51PM (#2813519) Homepage
    This belongs on the front page if ever a programming article did.

    Any programmer worth his salt has at least thumbed through the Knuth books. The set is one of half a dozen things I'd want to see on every programmer's bookshelf, and possibly even at the top of that list.

    Knuth's getting on in years. Let's all pray/hope/whatever that he makes it through the remaining volumes. If not, it'll be a major loss.

    • I actually don't have these books on my bookshelf right now, but at various times in the past the copies from the library have been there. Does that count? :-)

      I have to second the statement that these are the BEST computer science books available. They were written a long time ago and it is a bit humbling to realize that nearly all of the programming algorithms we use now were figured out by that time. These books are written in an entertaining manner, and they have clear explanations of everything. They are not beginner's books and they don't shy away from the math. I suspect that 100 years from now people will still be reading these books in the same way that English majors still read Shakespeare.
    • Amen. 'Name the damn [sic] SQL dolphin' gets a front page spot and ~350 comments while Knuth languishes in the back with what, twelve? I haven't questioned slashdot through all the reposts and poorly researched posts, but this is getting ridiculous. If this keeps up, slashdot will become the 'Entertainment Tonight' of the tech community.

      • Your targeting is excellent. /. articles boil down to:
        a) MS sucks
        b) See me new gadget
        c) oh, yeah: technical stuff
        What can be done to stem the tide of crapflooding?
        • In another posting [] in another discussion, I suggested that top-level articles be subject to moderation, with all the gimmicks that apply.

          I was mod'ded up twice, then mod'ded down twice.

          Net result: No one will see the idea.

    • Yeah!

      *looks around sheepishly*

      At least I can tell my grandkids I got a story on Slashdot, too. Even if it wasn't on the front page...

      -grendel drago
  • "Donald E. Knuth has released "Pre-Fascicle 2b: Generating all permutations" from TAOCP Volume 4. It will be section of the final work. Oh, and Volume 4 may now fill *four* subvolumes. Send in bugs, get checks for $2.56, tell the grandkids."

    Michael, if I said this to my grandkids they would throw me in the insane asylum for spewing gibberish.

    That sentance makes *zero* sense to neophytes, and I doubt it makes sense to experienced *phytes in the industry you are talking about (What industry are you talking about? Programming? Cryptology? DNA sequencing?).

    Who is Donald Knuth anyways? Wasn't he the head Animator behind the "Secrets of Nimh" cartoon & the "Dragon's Lair" & "Space Quest" video games?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      (What industry are you talking about? Programming? Cryptology? DNA sequencing?).
      Damn that confusing "programming" topic icon!

      Anyway, any professional programmer who can't identify Knuth (because of TAOCP or TeX), or at the least hasn't heard anecdotes of Knuth's infamous $2.56 reward for finding bugs in TeX and mistakes in his textbooks, ought to be shot.

      • Shot?

        Try: shot, hanged, boiled in oil, disemboweled, drawn and quartered, fed to sharks, and then tried for heresy.

    • Clarification... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:50PM (#2817048) Homepage

      Dude, I'm going to have to take the blame for that one. You'll notice that that text was italicized, and hence came from my submission.

      Send in bugs, get checks for $2.56, tell the grandkids.

      Let's expand this a bit. Don Knuth sends $2.56 (a ``hexadecimal dollar'') for each bug so found. This money is sent in check form. No one in their right mind would actually cash them, especially since Knuth is getting on in years. (Note that he's just celebrated his millionth birthday---in base 2, of course.) I have two checks from Knuth (though for ``useful suggestions'', worth but thirty-two cents apiece), and they are possibly my most prized possessions.

      And that's ``Don Bluth''. Not ``Don Knuth''. Though they're both rather devout men, that's where the similarities end, unless Don Bluth plays the organ...

      -grendel drago
  • "If you think you're a really good programmer, [Knuth's] Art of Computer Programming....You should definitely send me a resume if you can read the whole thing." -- Bill Gates :)

    From amazon [].

    TAOCP has got to be one of the greatest examples of a genius mind at work. Knuth's work should be placed in the same echelon as Shakespear, Chaucer, and Hemingway.

  • More interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Satai ( 111172 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @11:17PM (#2814468)
    I found the news just above the 2b announcement to be a bit more interesting.

    Evidently the random number generator ran_array / RNARRAY from Volume 2 had some problems. As I read it, if one seed is used many times, it would produce numbers that passed randomness tests; but one user tried many different seeds for only a few generations - which began to fail randomness tests.

    The remarkable thing Knuth noted was that two different methods of fixing it were found by Richard Brent. The first was to discard the first 2000 numbers; the other was just basic improvement of the initialization of the algorithm.

    I'm very curious as to why this is; my understanding of seminumerical theory is limited to what I've read in Knuth, but I'm still very interested in the causes of this problem.

  • Richard M. Stallman has requested that this post be renamed "GNUth Releases Part of Volume 4" and that the book be referred to as "GNUth's 'The Art of Computer Programming'". Says RMS, "Clearly this system of many eyes viewing the pre-releases to remove bugs reflects a major benefit of open source. To say anything but 'GNUth' would be to ignore this fact."
    • Damn, that's good. Except it'd be pronounced "ga-NOOTH".


      -grendel drago
      [*] ``Snapplause'' is the sound of scads of people snapping their fingers in approval, Beatnik-style.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor