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Selected Papers on Fun and Games (Center for the Study of Language and Information - Lecture Notes) Paperback – January 15, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1575865843 ISBN-10: 157586584X

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Product Details

  • Series: Center for the Study of Language and Information - Lecture Notes (Book 192)
  • Paperback: 750 pages
  • Publisher: Center for the Study of Language and Inf (January 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157586584X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575865843
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Donald E. Knuth is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science emeritus at Stanford University.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ed Pegg Jr TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had the pleasure of seeing Don Knuth present the "Nikoli Puzzle Favors" that is in this book. Nikoli is a leading publisher of japanese-style logic puzzles, which tend to have no words, such as sudoku, slitherlink, or number link. In Slitherlink, you must find a closed loop in a grid, so that for any numbers in the grid, the loop touches the number that many times.

Knuth implemented a solving method, and then investigated having more than one loop. He calls this variation Skimperlink.

One paper in here on leaper tours (like a knight tour in chess) affected my college work. I was working on a thesis for leaper tours, when Knuth published his paper, going far beyond anything I'd planned. I had to change my thesis.

Word cubes, magic squares, chess variants, and many types of puzzle fill out 49 chapters. One huge chapter on the 1977 computer game Adventure (pages 235-394) is perhaps excessive.

He writes about one of his first forays into algorithms, as an 8th grader, trying to make the most words out of "Ziegler's Giant Bar" in a 1951 TV contest. He told his parents he had a stomach ache and worked on the problem, gradually figuring out better ways to solve it. He won the contest with 4766 words.

This is a very fun book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sumimus on June 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is fun to read. Each chapter is an independent piece to analyze. Knuth added many personal notes to the papers, some of which he wrote a long time ago (the papers span more than 50 years). Knuth enjoys combinatorics and we can see that throughout this book. Notice the size of that book: over 700 pages.

The chapter on vanity plates contains many interesting details. Knuth took the time to look beyond the USA to cover the subject. I was pleased to read the peculiar rules for the province of Quebec in Canada: drivers can have any vanity plate they like (at no extra charge) for the front of their car(s). In California, the state where Don Knuth lives, the calling sequence on a vanity plate must be unique (and there is an extra cost). Think about the differences in liberty. Oddly, Knuth never made a choice on a vanity plate for his own car.

There is a very long chapter on the Adventure game. The chapter is long since it presents Knuth's version of the program using literate programming. If you have never encountered that style of program presentation, it will be a refreshing discovery.
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6 of 27 people found the following review helpful By W. C. Roos on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My paperback copy arrived sans pages 230 through 262, but pages 263 through 294 were repeated, no doubt to make the total page count more correct, but leaving the Adventure game program sort of at the point I had progressed to when I last played it. However, Amazon has promised to send me a presumably more accurate book in exchange for me sending my (unique?) copy back to them.

Update: June 3, 2011
Last evening Amazon sent me an email informing me of their receipt of the defective book that I returned. This morning I received a replacement copy. Unfortunately, the replacement has the same problems the first copy had. Considering the postal delivery time, I do not think Amazon could have received my returned book and shipped it right back to me, so my first copy was not unique after all. The post office and UPS may be the real winners here.

Update: June 6, 2011
My third copy arrived this morning, and it seems to be missing the imperfections of the first two, therefore my rating has been adjusted from one star to five stars. (I have not read the book yet, but anything by Knuth rates high with me, in spite of my having several of his checks...when he used to write them.)

I complement Amazon for their efficient processing except they seem to have paid little attention, if any, to what the problem was.
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More About the Author

Donald E. Knuth was born on January 10, 1938 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He studied mathematics as an undergraduate at Case Institute of Technology, where he also wrote software at the Computing Center. The Case faculty took the unprecedented step of awarding him a Master's degree together with the B.S. he received in 1960. After graduate studies at California Institute of Technology, he received a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1963 and then remained on the mathematics faculty. Throughout this period he continued to be involved with software development, serving as consultant to Burroughs Corporation from 1960-1968 and as editor of Programming Languages for ACM publications from 1964-1967.

He joined Stanford University as Professor of Computer Science in 1968, and was appointed to Stanford's first endowed chair in computer science nine years later. As a university professor he introduced a variety of new courses into the curriculum, notably Data Structures and Concrete Mathematics. In 1993 he became Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming. He has supervised the dissertations of 28 students.

Knuth began in 1962 to prepare textbooks about programming techniques, and this work evolved into a projected seven-volume series entitled The Art of Computer Programming. Volumes 1-3 first appeared in 1968, 1969, and 1973. Having revised these three in 1997, he is now working full time on the remaining volumes. Volume 4A appeared at the beginning of 2011. More than one million copies have already been printed, including translations into ten languages.

He took ten years off from that project to work on digital typography, developing the TeX system for document preparation and the METAFONT system for alphabet design. Noteworthy by-products of those activities were the WEB and CWEB languages for structured documentation, and the accompanying methodology of Literate Programming. TeX is now used to produce most of the world's scientific literature in physics and mathematics.

His research papers have been instrumental in establishing several subareas of computer science and software engineering: LR(k) parsing; attribute grammars; the Knuth-Bendix algorithm for axiomatic reasoning; empirical studies of user programs and profiles; analysis of algorithms. In general, his works have been directed towards the search for a proper balance between theory and practice.

Professor Knuth received the ACM Turing Award in 1974 and became a Fellow of the British Computer Society in 1980, an Honorary Member of the IEEE in 1982. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering; he is also a foreign associate of l'Academie des Sciences (Paris), Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi (Oslo), Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Munich), the Royal Society (London), and Rossiiskaya Akademia Nauk (Moscow). He holds five patents and has published approximately 160 papers in addition to his 28 books. He received the Medal of Science from President Carter in 1979, the American Mathematical Society's Steele Prize for expository writing in 1986, the New York Academy of Sciences Award in 1987, the J.D. Warnier Prize for software methodology in 1989, the Adelskøld Medal from the Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1994, the Harvey Prize from the Technion in 1995, and the Kyoto Prize for advanced technology in 1996. He was a charter recipient of the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award in 1982, after having received the IEEE Computer Society's W. Wallace McDowell Award in 1980; he received the IEEE's John von Neumann Medal in 1995. He holds honorary doctorates from Oxford University, the University of Paris, St. Petersburg University, and more than a dozen colleges and universities in America.

Professor Knuth lives on the Stanford campus with his wife, Jill. They have two children, John and Jennifer. Music is his main avocation.

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Selected Papers on Fun and Games (Center for the Study of Language and Information - Lecture Notes)
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