TUG Interview Corner
This Interview Corner was coordinated for many years by Dave Walden, who spent a lifetime in computer R&D but who was a relative newcomer to TeX and friends when he started doing these interviews in 2004. Dave was a serious user of (La)TeX (see his TeX Land web pages), but not a particularly expert user. He did these interviews in hopes that other users of TeX will be interested in knowing more about the evolution and use of TeX and friends, and the people behind them.
Dave stepped down from the Interview Corner in 2021, and passed away in 2022. He always encouraged others to participate in this and his other projects, and a new volunteer to continue with the interviews would be most welcome; please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview subjects are chosen based on (a) seeking diversity in many dimensions, (b) recommendations from people about who should be interviewed, and (c) potential interview subjects being willing to be interviewed. If you'd like to suggest subjects for future interviews, or are interested in conducting interviews yourself, please contact us.
Please also contact us if you see a problem with this website. (A program generates the HTML for the website and the interviews, based on the system of m4 files described in our paper about this interviews project.)
In addition to the TUG interviews, this page also lists other interviews, memoirs, etc. and some histories of TeX, including an extensive list of interviews, lectures, and other material by or about Don Knuth.
The list is alphabetical by last name. The one or two activities listed for each interviewee are meant as just a hint about each interviewee and are accurate as of the date of the interview. We do not update the interviews after they are published.
A chronological list of interviews is also available.
In preparation for TUG 2010: TeX's 25 anniversary, we tried to expand our interview series to include Stanford students who worked with Don Knuth to develop TeX and Metafont in the late 1970s and into the mid-1980s. The TeX Project people we interviewed are:
All but one of the above people have a chapter in the commemorative book we
prepared for TUG2010. All of them, along with Knuth, participated in a
panel discussion during the
Other interviews, memoirs, etc., in TUGboat and elsewhere
The TeX Community Blog is
doing its own interview series. Originally Paulo Cereda did the
interviews, but others in the community later joined Paulo during the
interview sessions. They have a dedicated chatroom for interviewing
their members; anyone can visit the chatroom and submit questions to the
interviewee, and Paulo serves in an editorial role.
Other interviews, remembrances, etc. (including additional items for some people listed above).
General: Donald Knuth Lectures, 111 lectures digitized by the Stanford Center for Professional Development and available through a youtube playlist. Many of these are also individually listed below.
2021-12-09: Omicron (the symbol) in Mathematics, from Numberphile. Video by Tony Padilla; Knuth material starts around 5:14.
2021-10-27: Foundations of Computing: Donald Knuth, Polylogues; Siobhan Roberts, interviewer.
2021-09-09: Programming, Algorithms, Hard Problems & the Game of Life, Lex Fridman podcast.
2020-10-24: Homecoming Awards Ceremony, Case Western Reserve University; Knuth's part starts at 38:00.
2020-10-16: ACM Turing Award Laureate interview, several videos extracted from the Feigenbaum interview for the CHM.
2020-09-22: Dialogue: Robert Endre Tarjan/Donald Ervin Knuth, Virtual Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Rough transcript.
2020-06-02: Don Knuth, episode 2 of ACM ByteCast. Interviewer: Rashmi Mohan. Show notes, transcript.
2019-12-30: Donald Knuth: Algorithms, Complexity, Life, and The Art of Computer Programming, produced by AI Podcast. Interviewer: Lex Fridman.
2019-10-08: Q&A session, part 1, and part 2, at Masaryk University.
2018-11-04: The Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University, University of Waterloo: Computer Science, the Bible, and Music; Constraints as a source of inspiration; Fantasia Apocalyptica.
2018-10-31: All Questions Answered, University of Waterloo.
2018-07-19: Don Knuth's early programs, Computer History Museum, Palo Alto. In this interview, DEK discusses some of his earliest efforts in computer programming while showing related program listings and manuals.
2018-05-08(-11): Donald Knuth: An Oral History. Transcript. Interviewer: Susan W. Schofield. Published by the Stanford Historical Society.
2018-01-12: All questions answered, Luleå University of Technology.
2017-12-09: Donald E. Knuth lectures, digitized by the Stanford Center for Professional Development. Includes “Experiments with Digital Halftones”, “Mathematical Writing”, “CS144C classroom lectures about disk storage and B-trees”, and “Christmas tree lecture 2017”.
2017-07-18: Invitation to Knuth's organ composition Fantasia Apocalyptica, by organist Jan Overduin (Fantasia Apocalyptica web page.)
2017-06-24: Computer Science as a Major Body of Accumulated Knowledge, part of ACM's 50-year Turing Award jubilee celebration. A brief talk followed by lots of Q&A.
2017-03-15: History of Stanford's computer science department, panel discussion.
2016-12-15: The 2016 Paris C. Kanellakis Memorial Lecture: Hamiltonian Paths in Antiquity, at Brown University.
2016-09-21: 32 years of TeX and Metafont, at the San Francisco Public Library.
2016-06-27: Surreal Numbers (writing the first book), from Numberphile.
2016-02-04: Analysis of algorithms (hi-res) Historical re-enactment of inaugural lecture given on 1969-11-04 upon becoming a Stanford professor.
2016-11: HLF Portraits: Donald Ervin Knuth, Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation. Interview by Marc Pachter, filmed by Peter Badge.
2015-11-04: All questions answered, University College Cork.
2015-06-17: A conversation with Donald Knuth, University of British Columbia.
2015-06-17: Constraint Based Composition, a talk at Stanford ccrma about his approach to composing his organ work Fantasia Apocalyptica.
2014-12-30: Wrong Turn on the Dragon, from Numberphile.
2014-06-17: Computer Science: All questions answered, UPMC Campus Jussieu.
2014-06-16: Problems Philippe Would Have Liked (slides), Flajolet Lecture at the 25th International Conference on Probabilistic, Combinatorial and Asymptotic Methods for the Analysis of Algorithms.
2013-10-12: Receiving the third Dr. Peter Karow ward, ATypI (award information).
2013-09-27: Let's Not Dumb Down the History of Computer Science, 2014 Kailath lecture, in which he discusses how he wishes computer science history was written.
2013-06-12: Donald Knuth: “Ich wurde als Geek geboren” [I was born a geek]. Part of the Vienna Gödel Lecture 2013 visit, including an “all questions answered” video.
2013-05-21: All questions answered, JKU Linz.
2013-05-16: All questions answered, Vienna Gödel Lecture, TU Wien.
2013-02-06: Donald E. Knuth, Ph.D., interview by Richard E. Nance.
2012-01-14: All questions answered, ETH Zurich.
2011-05-17: All questions answered, Stanford Engineering Hero Lecture.
2011-03-24: All questions answered, Google Tech Talk.
2010-06-30: An Earthshaking Announcement, lecture given at TUG 2010 in San Francisco (paper).
2009-03-17: Interactions between faith and science, Authors@Google.
2009: Lecture about DEK, part 1 and part 2, by Leon Sterling.
2007-03-14: Donald Knuth Oral History part 1, part 2 (2007-03-21). Transcript. Interviewer: Edward Feigenbaum. Published by the Computer History Museum.
2006-04: Web of Stories, series of 97 videos commissioned by the Peoples Archive. Interviewer: Dikran Karagueuzian. Transcript. Some TeX-related and other selections:
2005-03: Donald Knuth, Founding Artist of Computer Science, audio interview by David Kestenbaum, National Public Radio.
2001-11-08: Questions Answered, at the Computer History Museum.
2001-11: Interview at the Charles Babbage Institute by Philip Frana. Transcript.
1982-07-28ff.: The internal details of TeX82, twelve sessions:
1981-03-02ff.: Advanced TeXarcana, five sessions:
1981-02-23ff.: TeX for beginners, five sessions:
1980-02-01: The Errors of TeX78. (The sound is not good in the first 2--3 minutes but it gets better.)