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On the Internet This Week

One the Internet This Week - Week 33

Donald Knuth - All Questions Answered (stanfordonline)

Donald Knuth answers all kinds of questions from faculty, students and questions submitted by internet viewers. I always enjoying watching Don Knuth lecturing or speaking ( it must have been amazing to attend Stanford and see Knuth lecturing live! ), and this video is no exception. Some of the things that stood out for me from this recording:

  • Literate programming is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Programs should be written for people, not for computers.

  • Look up ‘Selected Papers on Fun and Games’ by Don Knuth

  • The hardest mathematical problem Knuth has resolved is called the ‘Birth of a Giant Component in a Random Graph’. If you start with a graph with random vertices and start randomly joining vertices together, a giant change happens when the number of connections you have added is approximately one half the number of vertices. By using ideas from complex analysis, it was possible to ‘slow this down and watch it happen by measuring time in a different war’ and thus it was possible to study this change. When Knuth goes into a problem, he tries to train his brain. The first week is baby steps, after a few weeks giant steps. All this happens by getting familiar with the problem domain.

  • “There is no royal road to software, anymore than there is a royal road to mathematics.”

Laurent Luce - Python Treads Synchronization

A great (though slightly outdated - using Python 2.6 for examples ) post about the various ways to synchronize threads in Python. I have very little experience of threading or synchronization and found this post very approachable.