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Computers and Typesetting

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Title: Computers and Typesetting  
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Subject: Strut (typesetting), Text Executive Programming Language, Robinson–Schensted–Knuth correspondence, Reference works, Concrete Mathematics
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Computers and Typesetting

Computers and Typesetting is a 5-volume set of books by Donald Knuth published in 1986 describing the TeX and Metafont systems for digital typography. Knuth's computers and typesetting project was the result of his frustration with the lack of decent software for the typesetting of mathematical and technical documents. The result of this project include TeX for typesetting, Metafont for font construction and the Computer Modern typefaces that are the default fonts used by TeX. In the series of 5 books Knuth not only describes the TeX and Metafont languages (volumes A and C), he also describes and documents the source code (in the WEB programming language) of the TeX and Metafont interpreters (volumes B and D), and the source code for the Computer Modern fonts used by TeX (volume E). The book set stands as a tour de force demonstration of literate programming.

The books are loved by mathematicians and other users of TeX. They may be less well known to computer scientists and programmers, as the TeX project was an 8-year diversion to Knuth's multi-volume The Art of Computer Programming.

The books themselves were typeset in the Computer Modern Roman typeface using TeX; thus, in Knuth's words, they "belong to the class of sets of books that describe precisely their own appearance."


The five volumes are published by Addison-Wesley.

  1. Volume A: The TeXbook. Describes the TeX typesetting language. It is by far the most common and available of the set, as the TeX interpreter is widely used for typesetting. It is available in softcover ISBN 0-201-13448-9 (blue spiral-bound with a built-in flap for a bookmark) and hardcover ISBN 0-201-13447-0
  2. Volume B: TeX: The program. A documented listing of the source code of the TeX interpreter The 1986 edition in hardcover is ISBN 0-201-13437-3
  3. Volume C: The METAFONTbook. Describes the METAFONT font description language. Hardcover ISBN 0-201-13445-4, softcover ISBN 0-201-13444-6.
  4. Volume D: Metafont: The program. A documented listing of the source code of the Metafont interpreter. Hardcover ISBN 0-201-13438-1, paperback ISBN 0-201-60658-5
  5. Volume E: Computer Modern Typefaces. A character-by-character listing (in the Metafont language) of the source code for the Computer Modern typefaces (cmr, cmbx, cmti, etc.) used by TeX. Hardcover: ISBN 0-201-13446-2, Softcover: ISBN 0-201-60660-7

The set is also available as a hardcover boxed set with the latest editions as of the year 2000. ISBN 0-201-73416-8

See also

External links

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