Some interesting observations by Knuth that are as true today as they were then. Namely, the small number of programmers and there isn?t a ?programmer" formula. Colleges have a hard time being relevant in this field. UF (University of Florida) even went as far as suggesting that the CS department be dropped all together a couple years ago. This field is more like the music industry and probably should be treated as such in school. Theory yes, but the art and the practice of the art always. After years of interviewing new grad candidates, that is the differentiator. Either they are a practicing programmer, or they just went to school.
Mathematics used to be that kind of art as well. It only lost its art because of politics and the enormous industry of *education* that evolved from that politics. If we were debating the role that the *math department* could have had in computer science in the 1950?s and 60?s, my heart is totally with Joe, but this is not the 1950?s and 60?s. In Kunth?s time, mathematics, and academics in general, was already disintegrating due to politics and quotas. Computer science really only had a brief time to find its place before that disintegration unfolded. Who knows how it might have worked out differently if education hadn?t become the political mess it is now.