Donald Knuth is one of the greatest and most impactful computer scientists and mathematicians ever. He is the recipient in 1974 of the Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize of computing.

He is the author of the multi-volume work, the magnum opus, The Art of Computer Programming. He made several key contributions to the rigorous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms. He popularized asymptotic notation, that we all affectionately know as the big-O notation.

He also created the TeX typesetting which most computer scientists, physicists, mathematicians, and scientists and engineers use to write technical papers and make them look beautiful.

Lex Fridman interviews him in this video.

EPISODE LINKS:

The Art of Computer Programming (book): https://amzn.to/39kxRwB

OUTLINE:

0:00 – Introduction

3:45 – IBM 650

7:51 – Geeks

12:29 – Alan Turing

14:26 – My life is a convex combination of english and mathematics

24:00 – Japanese arrow puzzle example

25:42 – Neural networks and machine learning

27:59 – The Art of Computer Programming

36:49 – Combinatorics

39:16 – Writing process

42:10 – Are some days harder than others?

48:36 – What’s the “Art” in the Art of Computer Programming

50:21 – Binary (boolean) decision diagram

55:06 – Big-O notation

58:02 – P=NP

1:10:05 – Artificial intelligence

1:13:26 – Ant colonies and human cognition

1:17:11 – God and the Bible

1:24:28 – Reflection on life

1:28:25 – Facing mortality

1:33:40 – TeX and beautiful typography

1:39:23 – How much of the world do we understand?

1:44:17 – Question for God