mersenneforum.org  

Go Back   mersenneforum.org > Fun Stuff > Lounge

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2009-07-26, 17:35   #1
cheesehead
 
cheesehead's Avatar
 
"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

11110000011002 Posts
Default Write to Donald Knuth!

Those of us working with computer software and discrete mathematics owe a lot to Donald E. Knuth for his contributions to those areas, notably his monumental The Art of Computer Programming and his TeX typesetting software.

Here's a suggestion:

Write a note to him expressing what his work has meant to you!

... and send it "snail mail", please, because that's how he'd prefer it.

From one of his pages (http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/email.html):

Quote:
So if you want to write to me about any topic, please use good ol' snail mail and send a letter to the following address:
Prof. Donald E. Knuth
Computer Science Department
Gates Building 4B
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-9045 USA.
I have a wonderful secretary who looks at the incoming mail and separates out anything that she knows I've been looking forward to seeing urgently. Everything else goes into a buffer storage area, which I empty periodically.
(So, if he replies, it might be a while, because he organizes his time in blocks for efficiency.)

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2009-07-26 at 17:41
cheesehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 02:14   #2
joblack
 
joblack's Avatar
 
Oct 2008
n00bville

52·29 Posts
Default

I suppose Donald Knuth has enough to do than read thousands of mails.
joblack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 03:41   #3
SPWorley
 
Jul 2009

31 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by joblack View Post
I suppose Donald Knuth has enough to do than read thousands of mails.
He seemed quite happy to get some notes I sent him a few years back. Anyone mailing him went through some effort, so he's usually interested.

His astounding encyclopediac knowledge was proved yet again... I told him about a minor TAOCP correction on the speed of ENIAC.. that it did multiplications in milliseconds, not microseconds. His reply happily agreed. But the cool thing.. he then wrote me a paragraph on the technical details about ENIAC's opcode design and throughput.. with references from two papers, 40 and 50 years old. Which he had, in dead-tree format. Which don't even exist in a Google search.
SPWorley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 03:44   #4
SPWorley
 
Jul 2009

1F16 Posts
Default

Too appropriate not to post...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	donald_knuth.png
Views:	150
Size:	32.1 KB
ID:	3906  

Last fiddled with by SPWorley on 2009-07-28 at 03:45
SPWorley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 04:43   #5
Damian
 
Damian's Avatar
 
May 2005
Argentina

2·3·31 Posts
Default

What if instead of sending thouthands of mails to him, everyone writes on this forum what would like to tell him, and then we send one only postal mail with everithing in it.
I doubt he would read it all if it's to large, but maybe he would like it anyway.
We could format it in latex and print it in pdf, like a collection of short-letters.
Damian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 05:31   #6
cheesehead
 
cheesehead's Avatar
 
"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

22·3·641 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by joblack View Post
I suppose Donald Knuth has enough to do than read thousands of mails.
Where did the "thousands" exaggeration come from?

I suggested "a note".

I know the active members on this forum number considerably less than a thousand ("Active Members: 209"), and if even one-tenth of those read this thread and actually sent a note, that would be quite a statistical anomaly.

(Did you actually read my quote from the web page, where Knuth explains that he has a secretary who screens his mail?)

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2009-07-28 at 05:34
cheesehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 05:43   #7
CRGreathouse
 
CRGreathouse's Avatar
 
Aug 2006

3·52·79 Posts
Default

For comparison:

On another forum I frequented there was a similar 'send a postcard to X' where X was sufficiently famous in the community. There were a total of about 6-7 postcards sent. And this community was much larger, probably 10 to 30 times the size of mersenneforums. So I'd be surprised if there were more than half a dozen letters sent to Knuth.
CRGreathouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 16:20   #8
flouran
 
flouran's Avatar
 
Dec 2008

11010000012 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Those of us working with computer software and discrete mathematics owe a lot to Donald E. Knuth for his contributions to those areas, notably his monumental The Art of Computer Programming and his TeX typesetting software.
Sure, I use LaTeX all the time, but I must admit, it can get annoying
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Here's a suggestion:

Write a note to him expressing what his work has meant to you!

... and send it "snail mail", please, because that's how he'd prefer it.
I don't mean this out of disrespect, but I am sure he has more pertinent things to do than read "fan" mail. Most likely, he knows what kind of impact he has had on the community, and need not be reminded.
flouran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 19:38   #9
cheesehead
 
cheesehead's Avatar
 
"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

22×3×641 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by flouran View Post
I don't mean this out of disrespect, but I am sure he has more pertinent things to do than read "fan" mail. Most likely, he knows what kind of impact he has had on the community, and need not be reminded.
See post #3.
cheesehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 19:54   #10
flouran
 
flouran's Avatar
 
Dec 2008

72×17 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
See post #3.
Yes, the poster of #3 told Knuth about a minor error in his work. That is perfectly alright. But that's certainly different from what you proposed, which was to only praise him. Knuth most likely knows he has contributed a lot to respective academic communities, and as I said before, he need not be reminded of it.
flouran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-07-28, 20:00   #11
cheesehead
 
cheesehead's Avatar
 
"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

22·3·641 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by flouran View Post
But that's certainly different from what you proposed, which was to only praise him.
It was "expressing what his work has meant to you".

Quote:
Knuth most likely knows he has contributed a lot to respective academic communities, and as I said before, he need not be reminded of it.
But AFAIK Knuth doesn't suffer from the sort of emotional impairment that seems to afflict some of our participants.
cheesehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
intermediate file write error TaliaW Software 14 2019-03-15 17:56
Donald Trump and the antichrist jasong jasong 13 2016-03-25 07:11
Knuth's GCD Lemma Dougy Math 5 2014-04-08 20:50
Knuth-Schroeppel analysis akruppa Factoring 8 2010-01-08 17:01
Hmmm... write failure? nomadicus Software 1 2006-03-22 20:43

All times are UTC. The time now is 04:44.

Sat Sep 26 04:44:21 UTC 2020 up 16 days, 1:55, 0 users, load averages: 0.88, 1.14, 1.49

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum has received and complied with 0 (zero) government requests for information.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.
A copy of the license is included in the FAQ.