In a fit of boredom before going to bed last night, I decided to pull Donald Knuth’s The Art of Computer Programming off the bookshelf (more accurately, from the stack of books on my office floor). I bought the series a few years ago, but avoided it because it looked a bit intimidating. I also assumed that I needed to read through Concrete Mathematics first, but the problem I find with most textbooks is that they’re a little hard to read on the couch while drinking a coffee.
And now, I’m kicking myself. Knuth is an excellent writer, and I’m beginning to see what the fuss is about. I think this pandemic is forcing me to finally approach all those hard-looking books on my shelves and actually read a few chapters, just to get a feel for what’s inside. And one’s that I assumed were ‘some day’ books that would require, I don’t know, a week off from work to dedicate myself fully to (hell, just writing that is making me cringe), turn out to be fine books to read for anyone who was a half-decent student in high school.
A small bummer - I managed to find a small problem in his book, and on checking his errata found that it was claimed in September 2019. I could’ve been $2.56 richer if I had my act together!
I took a brief look into one of the folks acknowledged in the preface, Robert W. Floyd. Turns out he’s the one that Floyd’s Triangle was named after. He was also a college roommate with Carl Sagan - I can only imagine the conversations they had!
- Discovering Dennis Ritchie’s Lost Dissertation
- Tiny Transactions on Computer Science
- Rainbow – an attempt to display colour on a B&W monitor