Donald Knuth lectures on Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About

Donald Knuth lectures on Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About
In the fall of 1999, computer scientist Donald E. Knuth was invited to give six public lectures at MIT on the general subject of relations between faith and science. The lectures were broadcast live on the Internet and watched regularly by tens of thousands of people around the world, and they have remained popular many months after the event. This book contains transcripts of those lectures, edited and annotated by the author. After an introductory first session, the second lecture focuses on the interaction of randomization and religion, since randomization has become a key area of scientific interest during the past few decades. The third lecture considers questions of language translation, with many examples drawn from the author’s experiments in which random verses of the Bible were analyzed in depth. The fourth one deals with art and aesthetics; it illustrates several ways in which beautiful presentations can greatly deepen our perception of difficult concepts. The fifth lecture discusses what the aut

6 (December 8 1999): God and Computer Science.
Dec 8, 1999 • 69 min
Computer programmers as creators of new universes. Computational complexity as a way to approach questions of free will and omnipotence. Other concepts of computer science that may give insights about divinity.
5 (December 1 1999): Glimpses of God.
Dec 1, 1999 • 72 min
What I think I learned about God from the 3:16 project. What I think I learned about theology from the 3:16 project. The difference between the two.
Panel Discussion (November 17 1999): Creativity, Spirituality, and Computer Science.
Nov 17, 1999 • 82 min
Panelists are Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Guy Steele (Sun), Manuela Veloso (CMU), and DEK (Stanford), moderated by Harry Lewis (Harvard).
4 (November 3 1999): Aesthetics.
Nov 3, 1999 • 88 min
Scientific work as an artistic endeavor. The deep influence that beautiful presentation can have on our understanding of texts. Illustrations by many of the world’s greatest masters of calligraphy.
3 (October 27 1999): Language Translation.
Oct 27, 1999 • 77 min
How to translate Bible verses without knowing Hebrew or Greek. The surprising rewards of such attempts, even though the task is difficult or impossible.
2 (October 13 1999): Randomization and Religion.
Oct 13, 1999 • 75 min
The advantages of unbiased sampling as a way to gain insight into a complicated subject. Dangers to avoid when using this approach.
1 (October 6 1999): Introduction.
Oct 6, 1999 • 54 min
Why I am unqualified to give these lectures. Why the lectures might be interesting anyway. The 3:16 project, a turning point in my life.