2007/03/12

再一篇 Knuth Interview

這篇滿好看的 XD。幾個和學生有關的問題:

CLB: You're best known for your writing and research; did you enjoy teaching and the interaction with students?

Knuth: We had the greatest students in the world. I can still get together with students through my lecture series, except I don't know their names anymore. That's a problem.

CLB: No student interns?

Knuth: Suppose I give a "Computer Musings" lecture, stating an open problem, and suppose that a student in the audience solves that problem, writes his thesis and finishes it in the next two weeks (maybe two and a half), and shows it to me. Then I'd still be interested in the topic, would still read it, and I'd be glad to sign his thesis... but that's the only way. 28 is the total number of Ph.D. students I've had graduate, and that's probably all that I will have... unless something happens at high speed through the "Computer Musings".

CLB: Real-time Ph.D.'s! What changes have you seen in the students coming into the computer science program over the years?

Knuth: There is a very profound change that I can't account for. In the 70s, the majority of our students were very interested in music. The first thing we'd ask them when they came in was "What instrument do you play?" We had lots of chamber groups and so on. Now almost none of the students are interested in music. I don't know if it's because a different kind of people are enrolling in computer science, or because it's true of all today's students, or what. If you ask computer science students now what their hobby is, the chances are most of them will say "Bicycling". I recently had one who played a harmonica, but there were almost no musicians in the group.

CLB: Any changes in the quality of the students?

Knuth: Not the quality... but they don't know as much about mathematics as they used to. We have to do more remedial stuff in college, even at a school like Stanford.

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Interview 實在是時間殺手 XD。

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