Grad student Wins Reward Check

Computer science department celebrates student’s achievement

Brion Nash, Staff Reporter

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Each new school year comes with new challenges and goals set by students and professors. UW-Whitewater computer science chair Hein Nguyen gave her students the task of studying Dr. Donald E. Knuth and his writings. Scott Schoeller took his professor’s challenge as an opportunity to receive the highly proclaimed Knuth Reward check.

Knuth Reward checks are awarded from Stanford University’s Professor Emeritus of computer science, Donald E. Knuth. Knuth is an established writer and is known as the “father of the analysis of algorithms.” He gives these checks to any student who can find technological, typographical or historical errors in his publications.

“I will gratefully award one hexadecimal dollar (#$1.00 = $2.56) to the first person who reports anything that is technically, historically, typographically or politically incorrect.” said Knuth.

Scott set out to find these texts. He read them in their entirety, with hopes of revising the writing. He studied for weeks to find an error in the reading.

“It was basically an issue where he apparently misplaced a definition” said Schoeller.

Donald E. Knuth has been a pioneer in computer science for the past 40 years. He stays in the California hills that overlook Stanford University. About once a month, students, fellow professors and even CEOs come in to listen to his lectures on his modern view of the computer science world.

“Scott is a very sweet gentleman who is always around here, so we run into him all the time. Even though he is in my class, he will pop in and ask for help,” said Nguyen.

Scott’s determination helped him to find several errors in one of the publications of Dr. Knuth, which brought praise from the computer science community. Here at Whitewater, professor Nguyen says his accomplishment is seen as an opportunity for all students.

“When Scott sends a message that it doesn’t matter how big or how small your work is, if you’re really passionate about something, it’s going to be recognized somewhere, somehow,” said Nguyen.

UW-Whitewater’s computer science program was rated the number 1 major with the highest median rate of pay for new college graduates by the Washington Post.      

With the new social media phase of our generation kicking off, the computer science program is looking to continue to grow.