Donald Ervin Knuth

Some people mistake my name for this man’s name. Sometimes when I google my own name, Google will ask if I mean “Knuth.” Although I am flattered that they make that mistake, I am nothing compare to him. He’s the “Father of computer algorithms” and well known to most computer science students. I’m just a kid from a small town.

I wasn’t aware of Don E. Knuth until my college days. My friend Will had signed up for an SDK account with eBay for a project that we were working on. My website was in its infancy back then so if you googled my name, you wouldn’t see too many hits. Will had signed up using the user name “WCKnuth” because I think that was our named up company name. When I saw him type that in, I told him that he had spelled my name wrong and that’s when he told me about Don E. Knuth. I thought it was kind of cool that I was a Computer Science student whose name was similar to a professor of Computer Science at Stanford University.

At the time, I didn’t know that he was teaching at Stanford but I found out later because my website was getting hits from Stanford University’s computer. Who knows? All of those hits could have come from him and he was curious to know whose name it was that was similar to his.

Another funny thing is that apparently someone had mistaken me for him in the US. I work for a large international company and in our address book is a list of everyone who has an email address. If I look the local directory, it’ll have my name as “Don Khuth” but if I look in the global directory, it’ll show up as “Don Knuth.” It’s probably been like this for a long time but it’s only showing up now.

I sent an email to my coworker with an attachment of a flower, the Star of Bethlehem. I didn’t know what it was but his wife knew the answer because they had that flower in their yard. Then I told him about another flower and he was able to identify that one as well. When he replied to my email, I noticed that the “from” address wasn’t from me but from a “Knuth, Don (IT Solutions CA).” If it was from me, it should say “Khuth, Don IT35.”

At first, I thought it was kind of cool to have people mistaken my names for Don Knuth but I didn’t think there would be this many. The company directory has two separate entries with two different names but both contacts is me. People sent to “Don Knuth” will come to me. When I sent out emails with my Vista machine, it says it’s from “Don Knuth” but when they reply to that email, it goes to “Don Khuth.” It’s kind of odd and cool at the same time.

It’s funny how things are happening right about now because it’s like the timing is all right. As soon as I started to research Donald Knuth, he starts to pop up everywhere. I was telling people about him at work and all of a sudden he shows up in the corporate directory. Life is funny…