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Don Knuth’s Early Programs

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Published on Aug 17, 2018

Interviewed by David C. Brock and Hansen Hsu on 2018-07-19 in Mountain View, CA X8713.2018
© Computer History Museum

In this interview, Stanford Computer Scientist Donald Knuth discusses some of his earliest efforts as an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve in computer programming while showing related program listings and manuals. During the interview he discusses the following programs:

Tic-Tac-Toe (Knuth’s first large-scale program, written in IBM 650 assembler, summer 1957), which had three different “brains,” the third of which included an early form of machine learning.

Runcible I compiler for the IBM 650.

Case SOAP III (August 1958), an assembler for IBM 650, modified from IBM’s SOAP II (Symbolic Optimum Assembler Program).

SuperSOAP (August 1959) enhanced version of SOAP III, modified for IBM 653 (which added floating point, index registers, 60 words of core memory, and a RAMAC hard disk).

Integer Programming Program (April 1960).

The interviewers are David C. Brock and Hansen Hsu from the Museum’s Software History Center.

Lot number: X8713.2018
Catalog number: 102738838

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