Recent News

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Announcing the first Art of Computer Programming eBooks

For many years I've resisted temptations to put out a hasty electronic version of The Art of Computer Programming, because the samples sent to me were not well made.

But now, working together with experts at Mathematical Sciences Publishers, Addison-Wesley and I are launching an electronic edition that meets the highest standards. We've put special emphasis into making the search feature work well. Thousands of useful "clickable" cross-references are also provided --- from exercises to their answers and back, from the index to the text, from the text to important tables and figures, etc.

Note: However, I have personally approved ONLY the PDF versions of these books. Beware of glitches in the ePUB versions, which cannot be faithful to my intentions because of deficiencies in that peculiar format.

The first fascicle can now be ordered from Pearson's InformIT website, and so can Volumes 1 and 2. Volumes 3 and 4A will be ready very soon.

Twenty Questions

Here's the (fun) result of some recent grilling by a nonrandom sample of colleagues.

A foretaste of Volume 4B

Volume 4B of The Art of Computer Programming will begin with a special section called ‘Mathematical Preliminaries Redux’, which extends the ‘Mathematical Prelimaries’ of Section 1.2 in Volume 1 to things that I didn't know about in the 1960s. Most of this new material deals with probabilities and expectations of random events; there's also an introduction to the theory of martingales.

You can have a sneak preview by looking at the current draft of pre-fascicle 5a (47 pages), last updated 07 September 2014. As usual, rewards will be given to whoever is first to find and report errors or to make valuable suggestions. I'm particularly interested in receiving feedback about the exercises (of which there are 116) and their answers (of which there are 116).

There's stuff in here that isn't in Wikipedia yet!

I worked particularly hard while preparing some of those exercises, attempting to improve on expositions that I found in the literature; and in several noteworthy cases, nobody has yet pointed out any errors. It would be nice to believe that I actually got the details right in my first attempt; but that seems unlikely, because I had hundreds of chances to make mistakes. So I fear that the most probable hypothesis is that nobody has been sufficiently motivated to check these things out as yet.

I still cling to a belief that these details are extremely instructive, and I'm uncomfortable with the prospect of printing a hardcopy edition with so many exercises unvetted. Thus I would like to enter here a plea for some readers to tell me explicitly, ``Dear Don, I have read exercise N and its answer very carefully, and I believe that it is 100% correct,'' where N is one of the following exercises in prefascicle 5a:

Remember that you don't have to work the exercise first; you're allowed and even encouraged to peek at the answer. Please send success reports to the usual address for bug reports (, if you have time to provide this extra help. Thanks in advance!

Public lectures in 2014

Although I must stay home most of the time and work on yet more books that I've promised to complete, I do occasionally get into speaking mode. Here is a current schedule of events that have been planned for this year so far:

Sunday January 26, 9:15am at First Lutheran Church in Palo Alto
Discussing a multiyear project in which I'm attempting to write a major work for organ in my spare time, based on the Book of Revelation
Wednesday May 7, in the Mackenzie Room, Huang Building 300, 4:00pm
Presenting the 2014 Kailath Lecture, “Let's Not Dumb Down the History of Computer Science”
Tuesday June 10 at Oxford Comlab Lecture Theatre B, 2:00pm
A Departmental Seminar about Remarkable Connections Between Planar Graphs and Ternary Trees
Monday June 16, in Paris, 9:00am
Presenting the inaugural Philippe Flajolet Lecture, “Problems That Philippe Would Have Loved,” at the weeklong Analysis of Algorithms 2014 conference and using these slides (flaj2014.pdf)
Tuesday, June 17, at LIP6 in Paris, 18:00
An impromptu public lecture entitled “All Questions Answered”
Wednesday September 10, near Moffett field, 1:30--2:30pm
A public presentation with “All Questions Answered” sponsored by CMU West

Click here for the “recent news” that was current at the end of 2013, if you're interested in old news as well as new news.

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