IET: Professor Donald Knuth to be awarded prestigious Faraday Medal

Pioneering contribution to computer science recognised by prestigious award

26 October 2011, London: The Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) today announces the winners of its 2011 Achievement Awards. The Faraday Medal, it’s most celebrated prize, will be awarded to Donald E Knuth, Professor Emeritus at the Computer Science Department, Stanford University and author of the seminal publication “The Art of Computer Programming”.

The Medal, named after the revolutionary scientist Michael Faraday, is given for notable scientific or industrial achievement in engineering or for conspicuous service rendered to the advancement of science, engineering or technology. Recognised for his outstanding and ground-breaking contribution to computer programming, Knuth will be the 89th recipient of the highly-esteemed accolade. Previous winners have included, W D Coolidge (1939) and Sir Edward V Appleton (1946) for their pioneering work in technology.

“The Faraday Medal is the highest distinction awarded by the IET and Donald Knuth is a very deserving recipient, says Dr Mike Short, President of the IET. Knuth’s published work has inspired many great engineers that have followed him. Through championing the philosophy of ‘literate programming’ Knuth has made his subject accessible to everyone.”

‘Literate programming’ encourages individuals to write programs by the flow of their thoughts in ordinary human language, like the text of an essay, as opposed to the rules set down by machine. According to Knuth, this method yields better programs by exposing poor logic and design decisions.

Knuth has to date published five out of the seven planned volumes of “The Art of Computer Programming” series which is regarded as the first and still the best comprehensive treatment of its subject. Bill Gates famously said "If you think you're a really good programmer read (Knuth's) The Art of Computer Programming. You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing.”

In 1971 Knuth became the first person to win the ACM's Grace Murray Hopper award. He has since received the Turing Award, the National Medal of Science, the John von Neumann Medal and the Kyoto Prize.

The Faraday Medal and other Achievement Awards will be presented at an exclusive awards ceremony on 9th November 2011 at The Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane, in London and will be hosted by Liz Bonnin, co-presenter of Bang Goes the Theory.


The 2011 Achievement Award Winners include:

The Faraday Medal – Donald E Knuth, Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming, Computer Science Department, Stanford University

The Mountbatten Medal – Professor Peter William McOwan, Professor of Computer Science in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science of Queen Mary University of London

The Ambrose Fleming Medal for Information and Communications – Professor Christos Christopoulos, Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Nottingham, UK

The J J Thomson Medal for Electronics – Professor Christofer Toumazou, of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College, UK

The Sir Eric Mensforth International Manufacturing Gold Medal – Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover.

The Coales Medal for Transport – Mr Adrian Newey of Red Bull Racing, UK

The Sarah Guppy Medal for the Built Environment – Sir John Armitt, Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the public body responsible for developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for the Games and their use post 2012

The Sir Monty Finniston Award for Engineering and Technology – Professor Theodore Rappaport, Chair in Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Texas, USA

Mike Sargeant Career Achievement Award for Young Professionals – Mr Matthew Wilson, CEO of Crosby Communications plc, Liverpool, UK.

Sir Henry Royce Medal for Young Professionals – Miss Sally Nicholson, Power Systems Engineer, National Grid, Warwick