'Glimpses of God: Faith and Computer Science,' topic of Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University

WATERLOO, Ont. -- "Glimpses of God: Faith and Computer Science" is the overall title of this year's Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University to be held at the University of Waterloo from Oct. 18 to 21.

A world-renowned computer scientist, Donald Knuth, is this year's featured speaker at the annual public lecture series. Currently, he is a Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University. While at UW, Knuth will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters at fall convocation to be held Saturday, Oct. 21.

His first lecture, "Randomization and Religion" will be held Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre.

His second lecture, "God and Computer Science" will be given Thursday, Oct. 19, also at 8 p.m. and at the Humanities Theatre.

Knuth, widely considered the best-known living computer scientist, established his reputation with his book, The Art of Computer Programming, published in 1968. He developed the open software TeX (taken from the Greek term for art) in order to replace the ugly computer typefaces common at the time.

Later, he wrote Metafont, and today 90 per cent of all science and math texts appear in TeX and Metafont. More recently, he published Literate Programming, among dozens of other books and articles on computing.

At UW, Knuth will also give two afternoon seminars open to the community: "The Art of Computer Programming: All Questions Answered" on Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. and "All Other Questions Answered" on Oct. 19 at 3:30 p.m., both at the Humanities Theatre.

As well, he will give a special seminar, "The Joy of Asymtotics," for the Faculty of Mathematics on Oct. 20 at 2:30 p.m. at the Humanities Theatre.

On Oct. 21, Knuth, who plays a Caasavant organ at his church, will join Jan Overduin to perform an Organ Duet Recital at 7:30 p.m. in the Benton Street Baptist Church.

There will also be a display of artwork that emerged from Knuth's 3:16, Biblical Texts project. The exhibition will run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 29 in the UW Art Gallery, Modern Languages Gallery.

The Pascal Lecture series was established to create a forum for Christian issues in an academic environment by inviting outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves in both an area of scholarly endeavour and of Christian thought or life. It is financed by donations and royalties from published lectures.

The series is named after Blaise Pascal (1632-1662), a French academic and Christian best remembered as a forerunner of Newton in the establishment of Calculus. Pascal was also the author of his Christian meditation, Les Pensées.



Rev. Graham Morbey, (519) 888-4567, ext. 3633; 884-0710, ext. 2739

From John Morris, UW News Bureau, (519) 888-4435

Release no. 127 -- September 7, 2000