Companion to the Papers of Donald Knuth

(Stanford, California: Center for the Study of Language and Information, 2011), xiii+441 pages.
(CSLI Lecture Notes, no. 202.)
ISBN 9781575866353 (cloth), 9781575866345 (paperback)
French translation of chapters 3–19 by Patrick Cégielski, Knuth par Knuth (Stanford, California: Center for the Study of Language and Information, 2020), xvi+210 pages; ISBN 9781684000586 (paperback)

This book contains a combined index to the series of eight volumes that contains archival forms of Donald Knuth's papers. It also contains a definitive bibliography, together with a number of previously unpublished works. In particular, the transcripts of ten lunchtime conversations about Knuth's overall life as a computer scientist, conducted in the summer of 1996 by Dikran Karagueuzian, are included.

Here's the table of contents:

  1. Problems [Q16, Q34, ...]
  2. Solutions [Q57x, Q61x, ...]
  3. Teach Calculus with Big O [Q171x]
  4. Writing [R4x]
  5. Memories of Andrei Ershov [Q115]
  6. Theory and Practice and Fun
  7. Conversations, 1996: Prizes and Choices
  8. Conversations, 1996: Printing
  9. Conversations, 1996: Life
  10. Conversations, 1996: Printing (Continued)
  11. Conversations, 1996: Travel
  12. Conversations, 1996: Why Computer Science?
  13. Conversations, 1996: Work Habits and Problem Solving
  14. Conversations, 1996: Getting Started
  15. Conversations, 1996: Programming and Languages
  16. Conversations, 1996: Artificial Intelligence, Students, Retirement
  17. Conversations, 1996: Accidents, Planning, Naming
  18. Curriculum Vitæ
  19. Books and their Translations
  20. Annotated List of Papers
  21. Alphabetical Index of Titles
  22. Combined Index

This book can be ordered from the publisher (CSLI), and also from the distributor (University of Chicago Press).

In my view [the interviews are] worth at least half of the book's price [and the] overall index is a godsend. ... Every library featuring books on computing should have this Companion volume, whether or not they have the other books in the series.
As with all Knuth's writings and edited presentations and interviews, the non-lists-and-indexes part of the book is fascinating reading. The list-and-indexes part is up to Knuth's usual perfectionist standards. I am glad I now have this volume on my bookshelf. -- D. Walden (TUGboat, April 2012, page 118)
The problems vary tremendously in their scope and difficulty. The essays are interesting and short so they make their point quickly. The conversations I will discuss later. The list of papers is very nicely annotated. The index is useful if you have all of the other books.
The conversations are fascinating in that they tell much about Donald Knuth and about how computer science has changed. As I was reading them I noted some interesting tidbits for this review; however, that soon became impossible since there was at least one on every page. ... I like this book mostly for the conversations. They really give you insight into the Knuth more than a biography or even an autobiography would ... The book also tells you how things were in the past which is interesting and good to know as we ponder the future. -- William Gasarch, in SIGACT News (June 2014)
The present volume concludes this highly commendable enterprise by providing a combined index to all these volumes, and a complete bibliographical survey on Knuth's books (including all translations), articles (with annotations), reports, transcripts of talks, problems and solutions, reviews, letters, opinions, and more. Also, some short notes have been reprinted here that have not been included in the collected papers. But there is more: In 1996 a series of eleven conversations (with Dikran Karagueuzian, the publisher from CSLI) was recorded, and the transcripts of these interviews are published here for the first time. In a relaxed setting Knuth recollects varied aspects of his private and professional life, which will be appreciated not only by students and historians of computer science (as the publisher hopes). These interviews give a multifaceted picture of the personality of a scientist who has shaped and enriched his field in many ways, and in three dimensions: theory, practice, and fun. -- Volker Strehl, in Mathematical Reviews, MR2905900


As usual, I promise to deposit 0x$1.00 ($2.56) to the account of the first person who finds and reports anything that remains technically, historically, typographically, or politically incorrect.

Errata to the First Printing

Errata to the Second Printing

In this list of known corrections to the second printing (2012), an asterisk (*) marks technical errors that are not merely typographical:

page 12, line 3 (12 October 2017)
change $2^n$ to $2^m$
page 45, line -10 (27 October 2014)
change "was only going to work" to "chose to work only"
page 95, line 14 (06 April 2012)
change "Institute Blaise" to "Institut Blaise"
page 98, line -5 (08 March 2012)
change "we`re" to "we're"
page 100, line 22 (08 March 2012)
change "You`ve" to "You've"
page 102, lines 8 and 13 (06 April 2012)
change "Ceauçescu" to "Ceaușescu"
page 104, line 4 (17 May 2022)
change "professor" to "Marco"
page 120, line 16 (06 April 2012)
change "$5,500 dollars" to "$5,500"
page 120, line -10 (06 April 2012)
change "forté" to "forte"
page 129, line 7 (10 August 2014)
change "to huge" to "to a huge"
page 141, line 25 (17 May 2022)
change "Noveau" to "Nouveau"
page 158, line -13 (06 April 2012)
change "in TeX)" to "in TeX),"
page 176, line -10 (20 September 2014)
change "whose address" to "whose addresses"
page 183, line -15 (25 October 2014)
change "it keep going" to "it kept going"
page 184, line -12 (25 October 2014)
change "only short time" to "only a short time"
page 185, line -3 (25 October 2014)
change "care of nitty gritty" to "care of the nitty-gritty"
page 197, line 5 (10 June 2012)
change "Ko Tokuno" to "Ko Tokuno or Go Deoknab"
page 199, new entry following line 6 (10 June 2012)
American Philosophical Society (Class 1), 2012--.
page 199, new entry following the entry for St Andrews (03 May 2017)
Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Williams College, 2000.
page 203, in list of journals (06 April 2012)
change "Journal on Statistical" to "Journal of Statistical"
page 217, line 8 from the bottom (20 January 2017)
change "Kαπούτσις" to "Kαπούτσης"
page 217, line 6 from the bottom (27 June 2014)
change "Klidarithmos Publications), in preparation." to "Klidarithmos Publications, 2011), 640 pages."
page 217, line 3 from the bottom (01 June 2013)
change "China Machine Press), in preparation." to "Posts & Telecom Press, 2013), xiii+564 pages."
page 217, line 2 from the bottom (31 October 2013)
change "Autonoma" to "Autónoma"
page 246, lines 1 and 2 of P155 (17 Oct 2012)
change "Hare" to "Hare*" and "Jeffrey" to "Jeffrey*"
page 267, in entry Q236 (28 July 2012)
change "solution to appear." to "solution in 85 (2012), 154--155.
page 267, at the end of entry Q237 (10 June 2012)
append "[CP 21]"
page 314, new entry (28 June 2015)
Bromhead, Edward Thomas Ffrench, CS 58.
page 351, new entry (15 Dec 2013)
Guth, Alan Harvey, LP 337.
page 360, left column (06 Apr 2012)
change "Institute Blaise" to "Institut Blaise"
page 372, left column (3 Aug 2015)
add page 530 to the references for Frank Liang in DT
page 372, left column (15 Dec 2013)
add page 322 to the references for Frank Liang in LP
page 410, new entry (15 Dec 2013)
Scherlis, William Louis, LP 322.
page 429, right column (11 Nov 2015)
Tsitsiklis, John Nikolaos, 241.

I haven't attempted to list additional books or translations, etc., that have continued to appear since this volume was published. I hope the book is otherwise error-free; but (sigh) it probably isn't, because each page presented me with hundreds of opportunities to make mistakes. Please send suggested corrections to, or send snail mail to Prof. D. Knuth, Computer Science Department, Gates Building 1B, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-9015 USA. In either case please include your postal address, so that I can mail an official certificate of deposit as a token of thanks for any improvements to which you have contributed.

I may not be able to read your message until many months have gone by, because I'm working intensively on The Art of Computer Programming. However, I promise to reply in due time.

DO NOT SEND EMAIL TO KNUTH-BUG EXCEPT TO REPORT ERRORS IN BOOKS! And if you do report an error via email, please do not include attachments of any kind; your message should be readable on brand-X operating systems for all values of X.

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