The Art of Computer Programming

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The Art of Computer Programming (acronym: TAOCP) is a comprehensive monograph written by Donald Knuth that covers many kinds of programming algorithms and their analysis. Knuth began the project, originally conceived as a single book, in 1962. The first three of what were then expected to be seven volumes were published in rapid succession in 1968, 1969, and 1973. The first installment of Volume 4 was not published until February 2005. Additional installments are planned for release approximately biannually with a break before fascicle 5 to finish the "Selected Papers" series.[1]



Considered an expert at writing compilers, Knuth started to write a book about compiler design in 1962, and soon realized that the scope of the book needed to be much larger. In June 1965, Knuth finished the first draft of what was originally planned to be a single volume of twelve chapters. His hand-written manuscript was 3,000 pages long: he had assumed that about five hand-written pages would translate into one printed page, but his publisher said instead that about 1½ hand-written pages translated to one printed page. This meant the book would be approximately 2,000 pages in length. At this point, the plan was changed: the book would be published in seven volumes, each with just one or two chapters. Due to the growth in the material, the plan for Volume 4 has since expanded to include Volumes 4A, 4B, 4C, and possibly 4D.

In 1976, Knuth prepared a second edition of Volume 2, requiring it to be typeset again, but the style of type used in the first edition (called hot type) was no longer available. In 1977, he decided to spend a few months working up something more suitable. Eight years later, he returned with TeX, which is currently used for all volumes.

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