Donald Ervin Knuth, (born January 10, 1938) is a renowned computer scientist and professor emeritus at Stanford University. Knuth is best known as the author of the multi-volume The Art of Computer Programming, one of the most highly respected references in the computer science field. He practically created the field of rigorous analysis of algorithms, and made many seminal contributions to several branches of theoretical computer science. He is the creator of the TEX typesetting system and of the METAFONT font design system, and pioneered the concept of literate programming. Knuth pays a finder's fee of $2.56 for any typos/mistakes discovered in his books, because "256 pennies is one hexadecimal dollar". (His bounty for errata in 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated, is, however, $3.16). According to an article in MIT's Technology Review, these reward checks are "among computerdom's most prized trophies".
In The Art of Computer Programming (Volume 1, 3rd Edition, Page 6), Knuth states that "there is an algorithm that determines whether or not the game of chess can always be won by White if no mistakes are made. Yet, it is a safe bet that we will never in our lifetimes know the answer; the algorithm requires fantastically large amounts of time for its execution, even though it is finite."
On January 10, 2006 I asked Knuth how long he thought it would be until there exists a computer to execute that algorithm. Click here to listen to his response.
Knuth signed my copy of "The Art of Computer Programming", Volume 3 on his 68th birthday - January 10, 2006