Tuesday, September 06, 2005 2:46 AM bart

TAOCP

I believe this must be the first acronym-only title on my blog. Don't expect to find any technical stuff in this post, but as the matter in fact, this post is a pretty important one for myself as it reflects the lion's part of my activities for the upcoming months (maybe years). As some of you might know, I've graduated from the University of Ghent in June this year (summa cum laude, see this blog post) and I'm planning to continue my studies for another two years at the same university. Because of this decision, some things will change:

  • First of all, during the week I'll stay in Ghent in a student's room, mainly to save on travelling time every day (and to reduce the pain of early mornings ;-)). I have no intentions to leave the university city for "urgent matters" (read: schedule penetrants). Only events that have been planned/announced upfront make a chance to get their way into my schedule, e.g. conferences and technical events.
  • Second, I'm allocating a fixed amount of time for technical community stuff, i.e. maintaining my blog, writing articles, doing posts. Up till now, I did these activities on an irregular basis, causing bursts of high activity followed by idle time followed by ... etc. Living a more regular life seems to be attractive to me, so I thought: "let's give it a try" :-).
  • Third, I won't accept any development projects that fall outside my scope of personal interest although I'll continue to work on some personal development projects that have started as fun and are a great experimental sandbox for me. I also intend to start working on a pretty large personal (computer-related) project that has been planned for a long time now and which is in a conceptual state for the moment being. Readers of my blog will be the first to hear about it.
  • Fourth, beside of my studies I'll spend most of my time reading and studying books in depth. This is where the acronym in this blog post's title comes from: TAOCP = The Art of Computer Programming, Donald Knuth's master piece. Since a couple of weeks, I have volumes 1 to 3 on my book shelf at home. In October, I'll start with volume 1 (reading + exercises) which I hope to finish by June next year. Donald Knuth started to write his books back in 1962, with an "RTM" in 1997 and the 18th printing in February 2005. I hope it won't take me so much time to read and understand it :o.
  • Fifth, in order to reach the goals aforementioned, I'm planning to reduce my permanent availability and reachability by processing e-mails in batch mode, once a week or so. A few months ago, I read an (in my opinion interesting) article in the newspaper about scientific research of the possible negative impact of having an e-mail (or IM) application in your near neighborhood on intelligence and concentration. I'm calling it: "running your mind in a preemptive world", ready for a context switch between your current brain activity and reading/answering e-mail or IM messages. Reading the following statement on Donald Knuth's website

    "Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things."

    is an accurate reflection of what's in my mind for the moment. Building software nowadays is all about building stacks, developing things on top of existing technologies and frameworks. For me, learning another SDK or API is boring, especially when it's a technology that interests me less (thus, I'll still be focusing on certain areas for community-related work, especially CLR, C#, SQL, Indigo and WinFS). The main question however is: what makes you an expert on the field of computer science? Getting to know yet another SDK or trying to find out how things work at the very bottom line? My answer is the latter one and luckily I'm still in a position where I can dedicate time to this stuff, so I have to take advantage of my remaining two years as a student.
  • And last but not least, I'm planning to try to get more sleep at night :-). The bare minimum will be set to five hours a day, but chances are high I won't keep this last promise :-).

One last thing for now: Friday morning I'm leaving to the PDC in LA with other Belgian and EMEA community folks. Keep on reading my blog for more stuff around the PDC and much more.

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Comments

# re: TAOCP

Wednesday, September 07, 2005 11:50 AM by bart

Don't forget to look around for a nice girl in Ghent the next 2 years :p

# TAOCP Volume 4 - Bits and bools sneak preview

Friday, December 22, 2006 7:12 PM by B# .NET Blog

Readers of my blog do know my personal interest in this master piece of Donald Knuth (shame of you if