From that fateful day in 1957 when Donald E. Knuth first laid eyes on a computer, the world of computer science just hasn't been the same. At that time, there really was no world of computer science. Knuth became a leading expert in the field that he helped bring to life, while delving into such other pursuits as surreal numbers, typesetting and typography, biblical scholarship, and "collecting" diamond road signs.
At MathFest, Knuth will serve as the Pi Mu Epsilon J. Sutherland Frame Lecturer. His lecture, on Aug. 4 at 8:00 p.m., will focus on "negative" Fibonacci numbers and their link to an infinite tiling of the hyperbolic plane.
Knuth was born in 1938 in Milwaukee, Wis. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees concurrently while studying at the Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland. He then moved on to the California Institute of Technology, where he received his Ph.D. in 1963. It was at CalTech that he began work on his pioneering series of books, The Art of Computer Programming, still regarded as the best set of publications on the subject. The first volume was published in 1968, the same year that he joined the faculty at Stanford University. Knuth retired from Stanford University in 1992 to focus on adding to The Art of Computer Programming.
Knuth has received numerous awards over the years, most notably the first ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award in 1971. He also received the ACM A.M. Turing Award in 1974, the National Medal of Science in 1979, the IEEE John von Neumann Medal in 1995, and the Kyoto Prize in 1996. To recognize his impact on the field of computer science, Knuth has been honored with the academic title of Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming.
In addition, Knuth is known for his creation of the TeX computer typesetting system and the METAFONT font definition language and rendering system. Besides his treatises on computer programming, he also wrote the book 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated in 1991, in which he presents a unique approach to understanding the Bible. Knuth is also known for his dry sense of humor. He pays $2.56 for any mistake discovered by readers of his books because "256 pennies is one hexadecimal dollar." He also coined the famous line, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it."—R. Miller
Register for MathFest at http://www.maa.org/mathfest.