Real Programmers Hack the Machine Code [was: Re: Job Posting (.04K Reward!) Jr. Linux Admin + Windows Support]

Daniel C. dcrookston at
Sat Sep 9 13:25:24 MDT 2006

Donald Knuth has written about this issue in TAOCP.  You can read his
full explanation here:

but the main point as it applies to actual programming (rather than
teaching programming) is this one - "People who are more than casually
interested in computers should have at least some idea of what the
underlying hardware is like. Otherwise the programs they write will be
pretty weird."  He also says that programming for well-designed RISC
machines is "pleasant and simple".

Funny that we should get on this topic today.  I spent a couple hours
last night reading the introduction to MMIX.  There are a handfull of
programs written in MIX which need to be trasnalted to MMIX for the
new editions of TAOCP.


On 9/9/06, Michael Torrie <torriem at> wrote:
> I take this post to a somewhat hyperbolic response (reaction) to Josh's
> comment.  However there is truth to this.  Real programmers are equally
> at home with low-level languages, like C or ASM (which is higher than
> machine language) as well as higher-level languages and other paradigms
> such as lisp and scheme (which python pays homage too).  They also
> should be familiar with computer architecture.  They should understand
> what pipelining and scheduling is, even if they don't ever deal with it
> themselves, or even understand the nitty-gritty details.

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