Posts Tagged ‘Computer Science’

The author of this poem [the book of Job] is a profound philosopher with a superb command of language and an exquisite sense of natural beauty.  But the astonishing thing about the book of Job is that everyone who reads it comes to a somewhat different conclusion.   Job makes us vividly aware of the paradoxes in one of life’s ultimate questions —  why do we suffer pain?  —  but he doesn’t solve the problem.  He merely demonstrates that there are no easy answers.
This is similar to one of the principal discoveries of computer science, namely that some problems are inherently so complex that they can’t possibly be solved in a finite number of steps.  We must learn to face the fact that an intellectual approach will not lead to an understanding of the cosmos; we can’t transcend our limitations.  Yet we should keep trying.  We should question authority and be aware that the traditional wisdom of religious orthodoxy might be mistaken.  This book says that after an honest search, like job’s, we’ll learn to trust God’s fairness  —  even though some good men suffer, even though some wicked men prosper, even though religion itself remains a mystery.
  —  Donald E. Knuth
From his book:  “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated
On This Day In:
2018 Let Us Dare
2017 Two Good To Be Real
2016 Learning Subtle Differences
2015 Dog Eat Dog World?
2014 And Sometimes Blogs About It
2013 Outside-In
2012 They Are All Perfect
2011 Delegation – The “How-To’s”
2009 Diet Update and Other Bits & Bobs…

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The Essential Knuth”  (2013©)  —  book review
This book is an interview of Professor Donald E. Knuth by Edgar G. Daylight (and edited by Kurt De Grave).  The book is part of the “Conversations” series and covers topics like Knuth’s childhood / family, college life, and then more typical topics – ALGOL, structured programming, other software pioneers and finally the history of computer science history.  Basically, it’s a chance to record the thoughts of a pioneer in his field (computer science) about his life and views about his accomplishments and opinions of other greats in this field.
Is it earth-shattering?  No.  Is it interesting?  Yes.  Knuth appears to be a man who rather humbly acknowledges his own “greatness” in his field, but puts it down to both ability and the good fortune of being born at a time when his field of interest was new.  If you are interested in the thoughts of a giant in his field (and I am in this field), you should like this.
The book is very short: less than 90 pages and has practically no technical information.  It is, therefore, entirely accessible to the general public.  If reading isn’t your “thing”, I have subsequently found most of the book is also available on YouTube in short interviews.  Final recommendation:  moderate to strong.  The book is so short and contains so little technical info, you will lose almost nothing for investing the couple of hours it will take to read this book.  And, it is interesting (even if in only a limited way).
On This Day In:
2016 Hoping For The Best Come January
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry

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