⊙ AntiQuark

Truth, Beauty, Charm, Strange


Knuth: History of combinatorial generation

Donald Knuth's latest fascicle (fragment) of his upcoming sequel to The Art of Computer Programming is a departure from the dense mathematical exposition of his previous fascicles.

The title may seem dry, but it covers the origin of the I Ching hexagrams, Vedic and Greek poetry, and mentions an A.D. 965 game in which players roll dice to determine their personality traits (sound familiar?)

Knuth spends a lot of time on Ramon Llull, a pre-Renaissance man who enumerated the characteristics of Godliness, virtue, and sin, then developed writings, grids and circular diagrams based on the combinations of these characteristics.

Overall, a cool paper. Has lots of pictures too, which is always a good thing.

[News page with links to this and other fascicles here. Direct link to file: fasc4b.ps.gz. PDF version for the postscript illiterate: fasc4b.pdf (translation courtesy of GSView for Windows).]


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