Yoda's (Donald Knuth) Xmas Lecture
Written by Mike James   
Saturday, 22 December 2018

Yes, I know they used to be called Xmas Tree lectures, but the tree is a data structure that you can only do so much with. This year lecture is on dancing links - yes dancing links I'm serious. Oh and read on to find out why it's by "Yoda".

If you don't know about Donald Knuth then you probably aren't going to be in the audience for his Xmas Lecture at Stanford University. Even if you do know about him, you might be surprised to learn the The New York Times has just printed an article that starts:

"For half a century, the Stanford computer scientist Donald Knuth, who bears a slight resemblance to Yoda — albeit standing 6-foot-4 and wearing glasses — has reigned as the spirit-guide of the algorithmic realm."

Knuth? Yoda? Well I suppose it sells newspapers....

Actually the picture that they have at the top of the article makes the point reasonably well, but if we used it here they would most likely serve us with a DHCP notice or whatever they are called. A little searching reveals even more proof that Knuth is indeed the Yoda of the computer science world:

knuthyoda

He should look so surprised at being able to levitate the entire TAOCP... It explains also his speech patterns idiosyncratic.

To be more serious - the xmas lecture and dancing links:

Yes, it is the same attire as last year's Xmas lecture, and the one before and ... This is what a tradition is all about. I have to admit that this is not easy viewing or listening, but I can promise you that it is worth the effort.

To explain what dancing links, and the associated algorithms, are all about would take too long and the publicist at Stanford clearly had the same problem:

"A simple data-structuring idea called “dancing links” has proved to be surprisingly effective. It has also led to a new class of combinatorial problems, “exact covering with color controls” (or XCC for short), which appears to be quite important. The speaker will explain the basic algorithms and will illustrate them with solutions to dozens of XCC problems that have arisen in a wide variety of applications."

Note the "appears to be quite important". Check out Wikipedia for a wider ranging discussion.

No matter, it is an honour to have sat at the feet of Yoda for a few minutes, even if the instruction went over our heads...

More Information

The Yoda of Silicon Valley (may be paywalled if you have read too many of their articles this month).

Related Articles

Donald Knuth's Christmas Tree Lecture 2017

Knuth's 22nd 360 Degree Not Christmas Tree Lecture

Knuth's 21st Not Christmas Tree Lecture 

The Art Of Computer Programming The Ace Gift For Any Programmer 

Donald Knuth's Christmas Tree Lecture 

Donald Knuth and the Art of Programming     

Another Chunk of The Art of Computer Programming 

To be informed about new articles on I Programmer, sign up for our weekly newsletter, subscribe to the RSS feed and follow us on, Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.

 

Banner


Facebook Updates Graph and Marketing APIs
01/08/2019

Facebook has announced updated versions of two APIs for developers - Graph and Marketing. Changes to the new versions include improvements to managing business assets, ad creation, and Facebook Ad Ins [ ... ]



LinkedIn Open Sources Data Streaming Tool
26/07/2019

LinkedIn has open-sourced its tool for streaming data between systems. Brooklin is described as a distributed service for streaming data in near real-time and at scale.


More News

appC

 



 

Comments




or email your comment to: comments@i-programmer.info

 

<ASIN: 0321751043>

<ASIN:0134397606>

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 December 2018 )