| ||Ask HN: Is Knuth's TAOCP worth the time and effort?|
205 points by QuadrupleA on Jan 13, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 132 comments |
|I recently purchased a boxed set of Donald Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321751043 ) based on its stellar reputation as one of the indispensible, foundational computer science books that every programmer should read.|
I excitedly started delving into it last night but after an hour or two of reading and exercises I started getting the sinking feeling that I'd just wasted $178.08. It seems quite mired in 1960's-era academic minutiae and tedious mathematical formalism that doesn't seem very relevant to a modern practicing programmer.
For all its focus on algorithmic performance I found no mention of pipeline stalls, designing for cache performance, branch prediction, multithreading, etc. which are all very fundamental aspects of good performance on modern hardware.
So for those who are practical programmers and have gone down the Knuth TAOCP rabbit hole I ask - was it worth it? Did it give you knowledge and skills applicable to your programming work or was it mostly academic / intellectual entertainment?
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