The Legendary Brian Kernighan on Teaching, Writing, Programming and Startups

Guest: Brian Kernighan
Producer/host: Arman Suleimenov
Princeton, NJ
March 20, 2012

Brian Kernighan! The computer scientist who doesn’t need any introduction:
- co-author of the programming classic - ‘The C Programming Language’ (with Dennis Ritchie)
- coauthor of AWK and AMPL programming languages
- Professor of Computer Science at Princeton
- author of many Unix programs including ditroff, cron for Unix 7
- early contributor to Unix alongside its creators Ken Thomson and Dennis Ritchie

- the person who coined the term Unix which stands for Uniplexed Information and Computing Service
- co-author of well-known heuristics for graph partitioning and TSP
- author of 9 books: Software Tools (with PJ Plauger), Software Tools in Pascal (with PJ Plauger), The C Programming Language (‘K&R’) (with Dennis M. Ritchie), The Elements of Programming Style (with PJ Plauger), The Unix Programming Environment (with Rob Pike), The AWK Programming Language (with Al Aho and Peter J. Weinberger), The Practice of Programming (with Rob Pike), AMPL: A Modeling Language for Mathematical Programming, 2nd Ed. (with Robert Fourer and David Gay), and the most recent ‘D is for Digital: What a well-informed person should know about computers and communications’ which is available for purchase here.

Questions discussed on the program:

  • Where did Prof. Kernighan grow up?
  • How was the decision to teach at Princeton come about?
  • What interesting projects came out of ‘COS 333 - Advanced Programming Techniques’?
  • What are Brian Kernighan’s current research interests?
  • D is for Digital - teaching technical material to non-technical audience
  • What were the goals of AWK and AMPL programming languages?
  • Thoughts on Perl, Ruby and Python?
  • Which books and blogs does Brian Kernighan read?
  • What does he do for fun?
  • How does his day look like?
  • Would Prof. Kernighan ever use Twitter?
  • How do you write?
  • What are the challenges of writing a book nowadays?
  • What tools do you use to write books?
  • How do you publish books?
  • Join a company or start one? - advice from Brian Kernighan
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