TUG Interview Corner

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TUG has collected many interviews over the years. If you know of others that would be useful to add here, or would like to do new interviews, please see interview background information below.

There are two basic ideas behind this list of interviews: (a) technology is created by and evolves with use by people, and the points of view and backgrounds of the people influence the technology; (b) there are lots of people who are relatively new to the TeX community and therefore do not know much about the people who are already significant contributors to the community.

Contents: Donald Knuth—text - Donald Knuth—audio/video - Stanford TeX Project - TUG Interview Corner - TeX Community Blog interviews - Other interviews, etc. - Some TeX histories.

Donald Knuth—text [#knuth]

  1. The Dawn of Rigour in the Art of Programming, an interview and capsule biography in Bhāvanā, vol.7, no.1, January 2023.
  2. The Computer Scientist Who Can't Stop Telling Stories, an article in Quanta magazine by Susan D'Agostino, April 16, 2020.
  3. Donald Knuth: Programming is like nothing else. Become friends with geeks, a long interview in iDNES.cz; October 17, 2019.
  4. The Yoda of Silicon Valley, New York Times; December 17, 2018.
  5. International Olympiad in Informatics: Roads to Algorithmic Thinking, an interview for the 2017 special issue of the Olympiads in Informatics journal.
  6. Maths in Science—an interview with Don Knuth: ten questions and answers about mathematics use in schooling and later (and optimal teeth brushing).
  7. Twenty Questions for Donald Knuth: for the publication of the eBook versions of TAOCP, questions for Knuth were collected from various people, he answered them, and the “virtual Q&A” was posted on the web.
  8. Don Knuth and the Art of Computer Programming: The Interview, by Richard Morris; June 11, 2013.
  9. The Essential Knuth, a booklet length interview of Knuth by Edgar Daylight conducted November 23, 2012, Lonely Scholar Scientific Books, Hevelee, Belgium, 2013; a review of this booklet appeared in TUGboat, Vol.34 (2013), No.3. A second extended interview with Daylight was published as Algorithmic Barriers Falling: P=NP? in 2014; a review was published in TUGboat Vol.36 No.1.
  10. Want a Happy Holiday? Spend it with Donald Knuth, a short paean to TAOCP at holiday time, by John Traenkenschuh, December 24, 2012.
  11. 145 pages of “conversations” (i.e., an extended interview) between Knuth and his publisher Dikran Karagueuzian in Companion to the Papers of Donald Knuth, 2012. the topics covered in this interview are listed in a review of the book (TUGboat Vol.33 No.1).
  12. Brief bio of Donald Knuth for the website of the recipients of the ACM's A.M. Turing Award; 2012.
  13. June 2011 interview of Knuth by BCS editor Justin Richards.
  14. Donald Knuth: Geek of the Week, a short interview with Richard Morris; November 26, 2009.
  15. Peter Seibel's book, Coders at Work (2009), has a chapter on Knuth: the book's website.
  16. April 28, 2008 interview of Donald Knuth by Andrew Binstock for informIT.
  17. Oral History of Edward Feigenbaum, interviewed by Donald Knuth for the Computer History Museum, April 4 and May 2, 2007.
  18. Oral History of Donald Knuth, interviewed by Edward Feigenbaum for the Computer History Museum, March 14 and March 21, 2007.
  19. Love at First Byte, Donald Knuth profile in Stanford Magazine May/June 2006 issue.
  20. Interview with Donald E. Knuth, interview conducted by Gianluca Pignalberi, TUGboat, Vol.26 (2005), No.3, pp.183-185.
  21. Panel discussion with Hermann Zapf and Donald Knuth, reported by Taco Hoekwater, EuroTeX 2005 proceedings.
  22. Donald Knuth: All Questions Answered (University of Oslo, 30 August 2002), TUGboat, Vol.23 (2002), No. 3/4, pp.249-361.
  23. An Interview with Donald E. Knuth, conducted by Philip L. Frana, November 8, 2001, in the Charles Babbage Institute Oral History collection.
  24. My collaboration with Don Knuth and my design work, Hermann Zapf, TUGboat, Vol.22 (2001), No.1/2, pp.26-30.
  25. Interview: Donald Knuth, interview conducted by Raph Levien, TUGboat, Vol.21 (2000), No.2, pp.103-110.
  26. Rewriting the Bible in 0s and 1s, a profile of Donald Knuth by Steve Ditlea, Technology Review, September/October 1999.
  27. The Art of Don E. Knuth, a profile by Mark Wallace, Salon, September 16, 1999.
  28. Question & Answer Session with Donald Knuth (U.K. TUG, Oxford, September 12, 1999), TUGboat, Vol.22 (2001), No.1/2, pp.15-19.
  29. A Look Back: A 1996 Interview with Donald Knuth on The Art of Computer Programming, originally published in Addison-Wesley's newsletter Innovations.
  30. DDJ chats with one of the world's leading computer scientists, Dr. Dobb's Journal, April 1996.
  31. Questions and answers with Prof. Donald E. Knuth (CSTUG, Charles University, Prague, March 1996), TUGboat, Vol.17 (1996), No.4.
  32. Amsterdam, 13 March 1996 — Knuth meets NTG members, TUGboat, Vol.17 (1996), No.4.
  33. Questions and answers with Prof. Donald E. Knuth (TUG'95), TUGboat, Vol.17 (1996), No.1, pp.7-22.
  34. Computer Literacy Bookshops Interview, December 1993. Primarily about CWEB and GraphBase.
  35. An interview with Donald Knuth, November 1991, TUGboat, Vol.13 (1992) No.4, pp.419-424.
  36. Donald Knuth, Interviewed by Donald J. Albers and Lynn A. Steen, Mathematical People: Profiles and Interviews, Donald J. Albers and G. L. Alexanderson, editors, Birkhauser, Boston, 1985, pp.182-203.

Donald Knuth—audio/video [#knuthav]

General: Donald Knuth Lectures, 111 lectures digitized by the Stanford Center for Professional Development and available through a youtube playlist. Many of these are also individually listed below.

2024-01-16: A Very Bad Estimator, an interview with Knuth, on Numberphile.

2021-12-09: Omicron (the symbol) in Mathematics, from Numberphile. Video by Tony Padilla; Knuth material starts around 5:14.

2021-10-27: Foundations of Computing: Donald Knuth, Polylogues; Siobhan Roberts, interviewer.

2021-09-09: Programming, Algorithms, Hard Problems & the Game of Life, Lex Fridman podcast.

2020-10-24: Homecoming Awards Ceremony, Case Western Reserve University; Knuth's part starts at 38:00.

2020-10-16: ACM Turing Award Laureate interview, several videos extracted from the Feigenbaum interview for the CHM.

2020-09-22: Dialogue: Robert Endre Tarjan/Donald Ervin Knuth, Virtual Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Rough transcript.

2020-06-02: Don Knuth, episode 2 of ACM ByteCast. Interviewer: Rashmi Mohan. Show notes, transcript.

2019-12-30: Donald Knuth: Algorithms, Complexity, Life, and The Art of Computer Programming, produced by AI Podcast. Interviewer: Lex Fridman.

2019-10-08: Q&A session, part 1, and part 2, at Masaryk University.

2018-11-04: The Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University, University of Waterloo: Computer Science, the Bible, and Music; Constraints as a source of inspiration; Fantasia Apocalyptica.

2018-10-31: All Questions Answered, University of Waterloo.

2018-07-19: Don Knuth's early programs, Computer History Museum, Palo Alto. In this interview, DEK discusses some of his earliest efforts in computer programming while showing related program listings and manuals.

2018-05-08(-11): Donald Knuth: An Oral History. Transcript. Interviewer: Susan W. Schofield. Published by the Stanford Historical Society.

2018-01-12: All questions answered, Luleå University of Technology.

2017-12-09: Donald E. Knuth lectures, digitized by the Stanford Center for Professional Development. Includes “Experiments with Digital Halftones”, “Mathematical Writing”, “CS144C classroom lectures about disk storage and B-trees”, and “Christmas tree lecture 2017”.

2017-07-18: Invitation to Knuth's organ composition Fantasia Apocalyptica, by organist Jan Overduin (Fantasia Apocalyptica web page.)

2017-06-24: Computer Science as a Major Body of Accumulated Knowledge, part of ACM's 50-year Turing Award jubilee celebration. A brief talk followed by lots of Q&A.

2017-03-15: History of Stanford's computer science department, panel discussion.

2016-12-15: The 2016 Paris C. Kanellakis Memorial Lecture: Hamiltonian Paths in Antiquity, at Brown University.

2016-09-21: 32 years of TeX and Metafont, at the San Francisco Public Library.

2016-06-27: Surreal Numbers (writing the first book), from Numberphile.

2016-02-04: Analysis of algorithms (hi-res) Historical re-enactment of inaugural lecture given on 1969-11-04 upon becoming a Stanford professor.

2016-11: HLF Portraits: Donald Ervin Knuth, Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation. Interview by Marc Pachter, filmed by Peter Badge.

2015-11-04: All questions answered, University College Cork.

2015-06-17: A conversation with Donald Knuth, University of British Columbia.

2015-06-17: Constraint Based Composition, a talk at Stanford ccrma about his approach to composing his organ work Fantasia Apocalyptica.

2014-12-30: Wrong Turn on the Dragon, from Numberphile.

2014-06-17: Computer Science: All questions answered, UPMC Campus Jussieu.

2014-06-16: Problems Philippe Would Have Liked (slides), Flajolet Lecture at the 25th International Conference on Probabilistic, Combinatorial and Asymptotic Methods for the Analysis of Algorithms.

2013-10-12: Receiving the third Dr. Peter Karow ward, ATypI (award information).

2013-09-27: Let's Not Dumb Down the History of Computer Science, 2014 Kailath lecture, in which he discusses how he wishes computer science history was written.

2013-06-12: Donald Knuth: “Ich wurde als Geek geboren” [I was born a geek]. Part of the Vienna Gödel Lecture 2013 visit, including an “all questions answered” video.

2013-05-21: All questions answered, JKU Linz.

2013-05-16: All questions answered, Vienna Gödel Lecture, TU Wien.

2013-02-06: Donald E. Knuth, Ph.D., interview by Richard E. Nance.

2012-01-14: All questions answered, ETH Zurich.

2011-05-17: All questions answered, Stanford Engineering Hero Lecture.

2011-03-24: All questions answered, Google Tech Talk.

2010-06-30: An Earthshaking Announcement, lecture given at TUG 2010 in San Francisco (paper).

2009-03-17: Interactions between faith and science, Authors@Google.

2009: Lecture about DEK, part 1 and part 2, by Leon Sterling.

2007-03-14: Donald Knuth Oral History part 1, part 2 (2007-03-21). Transcript. Interviewer: Edward Feigenbaum. Published by the Computer History Museum.

2006-04: Web of Stories, series of 97 videos commissioned by the Peoples Archive. Interviewer: Dikran Karagueuzian. Transcript. Some TeX-related and other selections:

2005-03: Donald Knuth, Founding Artist of Computer Science, audio interview by David Kestenbaum, National Public Radio.

2001-11-08: Questions Answered, at the Computer History Museum.

2001-11: Interview at the Charles Babbage Institute by Philip Frana. Transcript.

1982-07-28ff.: The internal details of TeX82, twelve sessions:

1981-03-02ff.: Advanced TeXarcana, five sessions:

1981-02-23ff.: TeX for beginners, five sessions:

1980-02-01: The Errors of TeX78. (The sound is not good in the first 2--3 minutes but it gets better.)

Participants in the Stanford TeX Project [#stanfordtexproject]

In preparation for TUG 2010: TeX's 25 anniversary, we expanded our interview series to include Stanford students who worked with Don Knuth to develop TeX and Metafont in the late 1970s and into the mid-1980s. The TeX Project people we interviewed are:

All but one of the above people have a chapter in the commemorative book we prepared for TUG2010. All of them, along with Knuth, participated in a panel discussion during the conference.

Interview Corner [#corner]

These are the interviews conducted by Dave Walden. The list is alphabetical by last name. The one or two activities listed for each interviewee are meant as just a hint about each interviewee and are accurate as of the date of the interview. We do not update the interviews after they are published.

TUG published a book containing the interviews through March 2009, with additional material. There is a discount for TUG members.

A program generated the HTML for these interviews, based on the system of m4 files described in our paper about this interviews project; the same files produced the book.

A chronological list of interviews is also available.

Interviews from the TeX Community Blog [#blogiv]

The TeX Community Blog is doing its own interview series. Originally Paulo Cereda did the interviews, but others in the community later joined Paulo during the interview sessions. They have a dedicated chatroom for interviewing their members; anyone can visit the chatroom and submit questions to the interviewee, and Paulo serves in an editorial role.

Other interviews, remembrances, etc. [#others]

Some of these people are also listed in the sections above.

Some histories of TeX [#texhistories]

Background to the interviews [#ivbackground]

This Interview Corner was coordinated for many years by Dave Walden, who spent a lifetime in computer R&D but who was a relative newcomer to TeX and friends when he started doing these interviews in 2004. Dave was a serious user of (La)TeX (see his TeX Land web pages), but not a particularly expert user. He did these interviews in hopes that other users of TeX will be interested in knowing more about the evolution and use of TeX and friends, and the people behind them.

Interview subjects were chosen based on (a) seeking diversity in many dimensions, (b) recommendations from people about who should be interviewed, and (c) potential interview subjects being willing to be interviewed.

Dave stepped down from the Interview Corner in 2021, and passed away in 2022. He always encouraged others to participate in this and his other projects, and a new volunteer to continue with the interviews would be welcome; please email interviews@tug.org.

$Date: 2023/11/26 18:11:11 $
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