Donald Knuth
#688 Overall Influence

Donald Knuth

American computer scientist


Why is this person notable and influential?

Knuth is professor emeritus of computer science at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech). As an undergraduate at the Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University), Knuth received the extraordinary honor of receiving his bachelor of science degree together with a master of science in mathematics based on the strength of his work at Case. He also helped redesign an early IBM computer while at Case, and made fundamental contributions to programming—writing a program to help predict the scores of basketball players on his college team.

While an associate professor at Caltech, Knuth wrote the influential The Art of Computer Programming, a tome of seven volumes that quickly became a go-to book for anyone interested in the how’s and why’s of computer programming. Knuth’s publication is a notoriously deep-dive into programming. In fact, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates once quipped that “If you think you’re a really good programmer ... You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing.” His name has become synonymous with the fundamentals of computer programming. Knuth is also the author of Surreal Numbers, a book exploring alternate systems of numbers, as well as numerous articles and contributions to recreational mathematics. He spearheaded the idea of “literate programming,” inviting programmers to think of programming as works of literature, or writing. Winner of many awards, Knuth was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 1975. He is one of the true pioneers in that most central of areas of computer science, the art (and science) of writing programs.

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What schools is this person affiliated with?
Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University

University in Ohio, United States

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California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology

Private research university located in Pasadena, California

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Stanford University
Stanford University

Private research university located in Stanford, California, United States

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Notable Works

What contributions to academia has this person made?

Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this person influential?
#2 World Rank #1 USA Rank
Computer Science
#98 World Rank #14 USA Rank
#116 World Rank #36 USA Rank
#18854 World Rank #4498 USA Rank