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ask the community (-1, Flamebait)

axxackall (579006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351473)

Just 4th volume? Why so slow? Give up copyrights to the community and let the community to help you writing the text.

Re:ask the community (3, Funny)

albalbo (33890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351506)

The Community should write Knuth's Art of Computer Programming? The series people have enough trouble *reading*?

This is perhaps the finest troll of all time.

Re:ask the community (-1)

I_Heat_Sexylaid (675028) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352663)

Now, there is a great Ask /. : what is the finest troll you've ever seen?
My personal vote was a Lisp apologist [c2.com] who said of c++ "when it has arbitrarily recursive pre-processor macros, I may consider it a real programming language".
But I have to admit, this troll is well above average, and to be respected.

Re:ask the community (3, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#8354309)

Perhaps they'll publish an 'Art of Computer Programming...For Dummies' someday. :)

ever notice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8356306)

Have you ever noticed that all those "The Completely Moronic Idiot's Guide to Teach Yourself The Beginners Art of Computer Programming For Dummies In 24 Hours Made Easy" books have at least a thousand pages, which is a lot more than I can read in twenty-four hours? Makes me wonder if you're even supposed to read them. Perhaps they work by osmosis?

Re:ask the community (5, Informative)

Permission Denied (551645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351609)

Give up copyrights to the community and let the community to help you writing the text.

I hope you're joking.

Have you tried reading TAoCP? This is not some computer book [ibiblio.org] but is an in-depth study of all the mathematics that Computer Science comprises. Some of the exercies would serve as topics for a PhD thesis (and are marked as such).

Suffice it to say that writing these books is not an easy task and I'm not sure if the series will ever get finished. I'm still on the first volume, so I don't know if I'll ever finish the series. Even though wikipedia shows us that a community effort can produce some good writing, I doubt it could ever produce something as in-depth as TAoCP.

And besides this, I think Addison-Wesley would have something to say about putting TAoCP in public domain.

Re:ask the community (2, Funny)

JamesP (688957) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352125)

Some of the exercies would serve as topics for a PhD thesis (and are marked as such).

Like the one that asks: Prove that there is no solution for a^n+b^n=c^n for n>2

Re:ask the community (4, Funny)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352366)


Like the one that asks: Prove that there is no solution for a^n+b^n=c^n for n>2


If only Addison-Wesley would print the volumes of TAoCP with bigger margins, we might have an answer to that already!

Re:ask the community (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8352827)

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Re:ask the community (1)

Sunnan (466558) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352570)

And besides this, I think Addison-Wesley would have something to say about putting TAoCP in public domain.

Honestly, isn't this a bummer? I'd love to glance them, read a few chapters, and maybe someday I will, but it would be delicious if the text just was on, say, wikipedia or similar.

Re:ask the community (1)

Endive4Ever (742304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352841)

Knuth doesn't belong on 'Short Attention Span Theatre' (aka the Internet).

Re:ask the community (1)

Sunnan (466558) | more than 10 years ago | (#8356940)

Maybe so, but having the text available means that it's searchable.

Maybe I would want to read a lot of the chapters, if they're as good as I'm told.

Re:ask the community (4, Informative)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351783)

The community can help already. Download the fasciles and comb them for errors, as is explicitly requested on Knuth's news page [stanford.edu] .

Re:ask the community (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8351861)

See also his help wanted [stanford.edu] page.

Re:ask the community (3, Informative)

__past__ (542467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351978)

Give up the copyrights to the community
You know, if this weren't such a stupid proposal in the case of TAOCP, he might actually do that. Remember that TeX was one of the first explicitly free software programs, just with fewer bugs and less ideology than the stallmanist oevres.

Re:ask the community (5, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 10 years ago | (#8353034)

It's worth noting that a number of Dr. Knuth's books are available insofar as is possible --- look for _The TeXbook_ and _The METAFONTbook_ in particular, also his _Mathematical Writing_, and of course, one can typeset the (Literate Programming) source of tex.web to essentially get the book _TeX: The Program_ (only up-dated ;)

Dr. Knuth has also published some _way_ cool commentary on programs as literate commentary on them, esp. look for his coverage of _The Colossal Cave Adventure_

William

Re:ask the community (-1)

Horny Smurf (590916) | more than 10 years ago | (#8369740)

I know you're joking, but Donald Knuth is a proponent of free software. TeX, for example, is public domain, the most lenient copyright there is -- no copyright!

The TeX source for the TeX book and MetaFont book are also available.

I had the priveledge of attending one of his guest lectures a few years ago. Afterwards, there was a brief question/answer section, and I asked him about the future of TAoCP. He indicated that he would release the TeX source for the books after his death, but Addison Wesley will still retain exclusive publishing rights.

Book too big? Watch the movies! (4, Informative)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351492)

And if reading the fascicle is too heavy going, remember that you can watch the movies instead, at http://scpd.stanford.edu/knuth/ [stanford.edu] . Fourteen videos of Knuth's lectures are aavailable, inclusing last years's "Tenth Annual Christmas Tree Lecture: Finding All Spanning Trees".

I watched the Tenth Annual Christmas Tree lecture live (the "trees", of course, being various computer science graphs and structures, not pine trees hung with colored lights) and found it surprisingly engaging and accessible even to an educated lay-person. If you have any interest in computer science or algorithm design, it's a fascinating way to spend an hour. (Disclaimer: I'd just watched the 1998 lecture to better understand Garsia-Wachs coding.)

I was so excited about watching it live that I submitted the Knuth Christmas lecture as a story about it to Slashdot, but the editors didn't think it important enough to accept. (Nor the story on "brain fingerprinting" [bbc.co.uk] -- a kind of polygraph based on direct reading of brain waves -- casting doubt on a death sentence, nor Eagle's drummer Don Henley's op-ed piece in the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] attacking the music industry and ruminating on p2p, nor the story about Anglo-German scientific rivalry and the resulting pickled baby "dragon" [smh.com.au] .)

Re:Book too big? Watch the movies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8352042)

I was so excited about watching it live that I submitted the Knuth Christmas lecture as a story about it to Slashdot, but the editors didn't think it important enough to accept. (Nor the story on "brain fingerprinting" -- a kind of polygraph based on direct reading of brain waves -- casting doubt on a death sentence, nor Eagle's drummer Don Henley's op-ed piece in the Washington Post attacking the music industry and ruminating on p2p, nor the story about Anglo-German scientific rivalry and the resulting pickled baby "dragon".)

I've wondered in the past if those stories the editors reject are actually interesting... Now I know that the answer is an emphatic NO.

Re:Book too big? Watch the movies! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8353598)


I was so excited about watching it live that I submitted the Knuth Christmas lecture as a story about it to Slashdot, but the editors didn't think it important enough to accept. (Nor the story on "brain fingerprinting" -- a kind of polygraph based on direct reading of brain waves -- casting doubt on a death sentence, nor Eagle's drummer Don Henley's op-ed piece in the Washington Post attacking the music industry and ruminating on p2p, nor the story about Anglo-German scientific rivalry and the resulting pickled baby "dragon".)

That's because the editors of /. cherry-pick submissions, kill them and then write them up themselves. You're just another in a long line of suckers. The job of a /. editor isn't to promote submissions, but to promote themselves.

publication schedule.... (4, Interesting)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351680)

general question:
His publication schedule appears to be 2007 for Volume 4, 2010 for Volume 5, plus other work following that. I'm a little concerned about his age. I dont know how old he is, but he is retired and seems to have been for quite some time. Will he live long enough to actually finish Vol 5?

Re:publication schedule.... (4, Insightful)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351828)

Knuth was born in 1938, making him 65-66 years old, 72-73 when the planned release of Volume 5 comes around. It's going to be a tight squeeze no doubt, but it's not impossible; Knuth could pull a Chomsky and keep on writing books into his eighties.

Re:publication schedule.... (3, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351986)

With the exception that Knuth's work makes sense.

Re:publication schedule.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8354972)

Speaking as a linguistics student, let me assure you that Chomsky's does too...

maybe Chomsky will to :) (2, Informative)

cliveholloway (132299) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352127)

He's only 75.

cLive ;-)

Re:publication schedule.... (4, Interesting)

__past__ (542467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8351952)

Remember that he is already some years (decades?) past his original schedule.

TAOCP will not be finished. Period. Knuth is too much of a genius, and a perfectionist, to actually manage to complete it in his lifetime. It will end up like Karl Marx' Kapital (which was planned to have 6 volumes, and he died early in preparing the third - which some people argue was only the third part of volume 1), with few people actually understanding all of it, and heated debates of what things might mean in the light of the never-written later parts.

With the exception that fewer people will die because of such controversies in Knuth' case, because there aren't too many militant guerilla groups fighting for the right way to do seminumerical algorithms.

Re:publication schedule.... (3, Funny)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352343)

With the exception that fewer people will die because of such controversies in Knuth' case, because there aren't too many militant guerilla groups fighting for the right way to do seminumerical algorithms.

That's the problem with kids today: no priorities, no gumption!

Re:publication schedule.... (2, Funny)

addaon (41825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352698)

With the exception that fewer people will die because of such controversies in Knuth' case, because there aren't too many militant guerilla groups fighting for the right way to do seminumerical algorithms.

All of a sudden I'm feeling rather inspired... does anyone want to start one with me?

Re:publication schedule.... (1, Offtopic)

Endive4Ever (742304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352825)

Wow! A new 'vi versus Emacs' flamewar with actual traction!

Re:publication schedule.... (5, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 10 years ago | (#8353001)

Probably that's supposed to be funny, but for those who don't understand the context of the joke, Dr. Knuth is running behind (didn't I just write this up recently?) because

1 - the work itself is huge (when first asked to write it he delivered some six or seven _hundred_ pages of manuscript as the first _chapter_, causing his editor to ask, ``Don, just how long is this book going to be?''

2 - publishing switched from hot metal type set by a combination of casting machines and hand-work for mathematics typography to phototypesetters and after digital typesetters. Because of the limitations of the early typesetting systems, Dr. Knuth saw it as his obligation to set aside everything else and write a publishing / typesetting system for mathematics --- he thought it would be done over his sabbatical of that year, some decades later he announced TeX complete and frozen at version 3 (w/ a version number tending toward pi and a several hundred dollar reward for finding a bug).

Lest you think TeX is irrelevant in these graphical days, TeXinfo is the basis for the GNU documentation format, an awful lot of XML gets typeset programmatically by TeX (look up xmltex for one example), Adobe uses TeX's H&J as the basis for the ``multi-line composer'' in their InDesign page layout application (by way of URW's HZ), and there're wonderful new formats such as ConTeXt and documentclasses such as KomaScript and Memoir _and_ w/ the new edition of _The LaTeX Companion_ soon to be published, work on LaTeX3 should accelerate.

William

Re:publication schedule.... (1)

BerntB (584621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8353044)

With the exception that fewer people will die because of such controversies in Knuth' case, because there aren't too many militant guerilla groups fighting for the right way to do seminumerical algorithms.

To help Knuth finishing "The Art of .." the guerilla's goal should be to legalize research into stem cells!

Then Knuth could take a decade off and do something like TeX again. :-)

(And lots of other people like me will have time to read it again...)

Re:publication schedule.... (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352283)

In 1968, one could order the entire set for under $100, to be delivered as they were written.

I wonder how many people are still waiting.

Re:publication schedule.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8353513)

However large the number, man, did they ever get their money's worth!!

Re:publication schedule.... (2, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#8354661)

I bought a volume of TAOCP about 15 years ago that included a postcard for being notified when Volume 4 was published, which was supposed to be in the near future.

Large .ps.gz! (3, Insightful)

holygoat (564732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352329)

Stanford are going to hate us - direct linking to a 600K PostScript in the article.

Don't click on it unless you actually plan on taking the time to READ it!

Re:Large .ps.gz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8353158)

Maybe this will spur Knuth on to complete volume 4 quicker.
I say bring down the servers!

By the way, these are *pre* fascicles. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8353281)

I forgot to mention that when I submitted the article.
It also seems that pre-fascicle 2c has been renamed to pre-fascicle 3a.
Seeing that pre-fascicles 2a and 2b total 138 pages and that 3a and 3b total 156 pages, perhaps the "real" fascicles 2 and 3 will shortly arrive (unless fascicle 1 has to be completed first).

By the way, I'd start looking for errors in pre-fascicle 3c, the $2.56 reward applies to pre-fascicles as well. (I got a check from Knuth for one in one of the previous ones -- quite an amazing thing to get one of those famous checks!)

At least this one's worth the wait (1)

Flexagon (740643) | more than 10 years ago | (#8383609)

For many years, I wondered which volume 4 would come out first, George Lucas' or Knuth's. I'd much rather have had them the other way around!
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