Vienna Gödel Lecture 2013: Donald E. Knuth

  • By Claudia Vitt (edt.)
  • 2013-05-16
  • Public Lecture
  • Event

The inauguration of our new lecture series will be held by Turing Award winner Donald E. Knuth on May 16th, 2013.

About the Vienna Gödel Lecture

Named after the famous mathematician Kurt Gödel, the Vienna Gödel Lecture brings world class scientists to Vienna. With this lecture series, TU Wien Informatics establishes a new annual lecture, illustrating the fundamental contribution of Informatics to our society. The inaugural lecture will be held on May 16th, 2013, by one of the most influential pioneers in Computer Science history: Donald E. Knuth, Turing Award winner and professor emeritus at Stanford University.

Donald Knuth: “All Questions Answered”

His multivolume work “The Art of Computer Programming” is regarded as one of the seminal and most comprehensive compendiums in the area of computer programming and has been periodically updated ever since the publication of the first volume in 1968. Knuth also exerted significant influence on the publications in the technical and mathematical sciences through the creation of the typesetting system TeX. This system has rendered the layouting process of scientific works considerably easier and has thus become indispensable.

Instead of a traditional lecture, Knuth invites his audience to an “All questions answered” event, where questions regarding any kind of topic may be posed by the attendees. He cites the famous physicist Richard Feynman as his inspiration for this approach. Feynman was in the habit of holding the last lecture of each of his university courses as an open session, where his students could take the opportunity to ask him anything they wished.

Knuth’s influential contributions to the foundations of theoretical Computer Science earned him many prizes, such as the Turing Award, the highest distinction in the field (often labeled as the Nobel Prize of Computer Science). Apart from his scientific work, Knuth helped shape the nomenclature of Computer Science, thus contributing significantly to increased clarity and unambiguity in Computer Science literature.