Computer Scientists: Is this a Donald Knuth joke?

Dipping into an old (and mostly unread) copy of Knuth’s Fundamental Algorithms - second edition, I came across an oddity in the index.

Checking the page number in preparation to turning to page 627, I find that I am already on page 627. The only mention of MUG is its own entry in the index.
I can think of three explanations:
[li]This is a mistake - not very likely I think.[/li][li]This is a self referential joke, but not a particularly funny one.[/li][li]There is some deeper humour going on here I just don’t get. I am hoping this is the case.[/li][/ol]
Note for those unfamiliar with Knuth’s books: MIX is an imaginary computer the author uses for illustration. Since there is no MIX computer there can be no MIX users so the membership list for MUG is the empty list.

Is there any other reference to MIX?

Knuth uses the MIX assembly language throughout the book for his examples. This is probably the main reason I have never persevered with the book.

See recursion?

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A recursive reference to recursion would be funnier.

[quote=“ticker, post:1, topic:831097”]

[li]This is a self referential joke, but not a particularly funny one.[/li][/QUOTE]

It may not be particularly funny to you, but for some nerds, it’s hilarious. For example, the name of the operating system GNU is an acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix!”.

You could ask him about it.

I am easily nerdy enough to be aware of and appreciate such jokes. IMHO this is a rather piss poor example of the genre. I expect more of The Donald (K, not T)

The idea that there would actually be a MIX user group is ironically hilarious on its own. Maybe this is a sly way of acknowledging that.

That’s probably it. I was being sidetracked by looking for humour in the self-reference itself when, as you suggest, that is just a mechanism the draw the reader’s attention to the absurdity of MUG. I feel better now.

My WAG is it used to be funnier. Not all humor ages well.

Still pretty funny to me.

As many of you will know, “User Groups” were common and extremely important: acronyms of the form ‘~UG’ were extremely common.

In this context, the index entry was slightly useful as well as slightly stupid (aka funny). Someone who made the mistake of noticing (or even looking for) information about mix or the mix user group would be gently notified that there were no other references.

That book is awesome, and it has not used MIX in decades. Newer editions all use MMIX (“…even less saturated fat…”!) There are FPGA and software emulator implementations, a visual debugger, gcc support, etc.

ETA MMIX users’ group

Still in existence. For instance, EDA companies have users groups, the one for Mentor being called MUG. The one for Synopsys is called SNUG.

As another example of Knuth humor, he had an article in an early structured programming issue of Computing Surveys, when people were talking about getting rid of GoTos. He had some quotes in the beginning of the article, one from a laxative company “Are you suffering from painful elimination.” He also mentioned that Professor Goto from Japan wondered why people were mad at him.

I thought the reference in the OP was funny. Though I never noticed it when I read the books about 45 years ago.

On a somewhat related note, the textbook for an introductory number theory course I took years ago had the following index entries on separate pages:

Number theory, sex in… 215
Sex, in Number Theory… 211

Where the first entry was on page 211 and the second on page 215. Note that I’ve had to make these numbers up because the text is in storage so I can’t provide more accurate details. I was amused by this.

The current edition of Volume 1 has yet to be converted to MMIX.

Huh. You’re right; it says the target publication date is 2020. MMIX versions of all the programs are currently available here.

IIRC, the index for TAOCP, Vol. 1 does have “loop, infinite” and “infinite loop” referencing each other.