# Does Donald Knuth have a profile on TeX.SE?

The title says all. This I have been wondering for some time. I assume the answer is no; else I suppose I would have noticed him.

(I hope I do not break any rules by asking this.)

• I'm not sure how this can be answered! We can't know who users are, and the mods can't say anything about the private user data. At the same time, as DEK hasn't used e-mail since 1990 (www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/email.html) it seems extremely unlikely. – Joseph Wright Apr 24 '15 at 12:55
• Of course we don't know each user's identity, but we know YOURS, for instance, and it might be that someone knew of Knuth having a profile. But as you say, it seems unlikely. (How can you live in the modern world without e-mail?) – Gaussler Apr 24 '15 at 12:58
• @Gaussler: Mr. Knuth is definitely amongst us, as a \phantom ;-) – user31729 Apr 24 '15 at 18:05
• @ChristianHupfer Yes, he is probably hiding in an \mbox somewhere. ;-) – Gaussler Apr 24 '15 at 18:07
• @Gaussler -- wouldn't be a \mbox; maybe \hbox or \vbox, but \phantom works. – barbara beeton Apr 24 '15 at 19:05
• As long as someone from the LaTeX3 team does not bring along a coffin, I'm fine. – Gaussler Apr 24 '15 at 19:07
• @Gaussler -- don doesn't use latex at all. when we get a note from him for tugboat (such as his "tex tuneup" reports), it's always plain tex. – barbara beeton Apr 24 '15 at 19:47
• Yes, I know that. Did I say otherwise? :-) – Gaussler Apr 24 '15 at 20:05

don's personal presence on the internet is essentially limited to his web pages at stanford.

on his tex page he lists a contact for reporting "purported errors". this still happens to be me, although the duty was officially turned over to karl berry as of 1 january 2015.

as don has said many times, he does not have an e-mail address; he relies on the good offices of a secretary to communicate urgent messages. his next scheduled tex review is in 2020, and he won't even look at tex and friends (except as a user, for his own work) until then.

• Doesn't he use the Internet at all? A computer scientist? (Sorry if I have a bit of prejudice about those. ;-) ) – Gaussler Apr 24 '15 at 19:11
• @Gaussler -- i'm sure he refers to it, these days, he's mostly researching material for taocp, and i believe he prefers his references to be "stable", not just sketches or conjectures in email. – barbara beeton Apr 24 '15 at 19:44
• Mr. Knuth's web pages reminds on of the Web looking in the 90s ;-) – user31729 Apr 26 '15 at 6:39
• Yes, I looked at the source code. Just a plain HTML document with a five-line CSS style sheet. Actually not that different from a simple TeX document. Oh, the good old days when people understood that HTML was for producing documents, not complex webpages with menus everywhere. – Gaussler Apr 27 '15 at 9:25
• @Gaussler: You are aware of using TeX.SX, a web site with a bunch of scripts/CSS etc. in the background ... and ... stand firm ... menus? ;-) – user31729 Apr 27 '15 at 12:29
• @ChristianHupfer, and one which, by modern standards, is positively minimal …. But communities like HN show that it's possible to have lively and useful fora with hardly any of the flash of the modern web page. – LSpice Apr 27 '15 at 20:08
• I spoke with professor Knuth only once, I was sent to invite him as honored guess to the Europython in Florence. His answer was on the line of: "Sorry, I don't have time. I have to write the art of programming." And considering his age, he might meant it literally, so I guess his presence on the Internet is indeed limited.. However he added a great remark: "anyhow, I know python. I studied it and it was a nice afternoon." If you want to have contact with him, your best bet is learning how to play the pipe organ. – Paolo.Bolzoni Apr 28 '15 at 1:39
• @ChristianHupfer, OH MY GOD, you kiddin', this is an HTML document? ;-) – Gaussler Apr 28 '15 at 8:45
• A side question, how long does he intend to make "The Art"? – Gaussler Apr 28 '15 at 8:46
• @Gaussler -- the original plan for taocp was 7 volumes; i don't have the list of topics, but i'm sure it's been published somewhere. he's now working on the second part of volume 4. (computer science expands faster than he can ingest the information and write his exposition.) he has stated his intention to continue as long as he's able, and has designated a "successor" to complete the work if he is unable to do it himself. check for interviews on the web. – barbara beeton Apr 28 '15 at 12:13
• @Gaussler — I'd recommend watching Knuth's "Earthshaking Announcement" talk from TUG2012 (<youtube.com/watch?v=eKaI78K_rgA>). His comic references clearly indicate that he's not hiding under a rock. – Will Robertson Apr 29 '15 at 3:13

There is an even better answer listed on his web pages, more specifically, on the page answering the FAQ question ‘So you’ve retired?’:

The only way to gain enough efficiency to complete The Art of Computer Programming is to operate in batch mode, concentrating intensively and uninterruptedly on one subject at a time, rather than swapping a number of topics in and out of my head.

This unambiguously means that unless he’s working on a TeX chapter right now (which I’m assuming to not be the case just by a stochastic estimate) he will be buried very deeply into a subject that is not TeX and therefore see no time to answer any TeX questions as interesting as they may seem.