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September 24, 2018 7:30 PM
Stanislaw Ulam Lecture Day 1

Event details


September 24, 2018 7:30 PM


Lensic Performing Arts Center


Santa Fe Institute
Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture Series 1


The Limits of Computers in Science and Society with SFI Professor Cris Moore

Computers, algorithms, and artificial intelligence have touched every aspect of our society — from science, to communication, to the justice system. But despite their enormous power, computers have fundamental limits: problems that no program can solve, and thorny issues in fairness and human rights.

Lecture 1: Easy, Hard, and Impossible Problems: The Limits of Computation

Every day we ask computers to solve problems for us — to find the fastest route across town, the shape a protein folds into, or a proof for an unsolved mathematical problem. For all these problems, the space of possible solutions is vast. Why is it that for some problems, we can zoom in on the solution with very little work, while for others it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack? What is it about the structure of a problem that makes it easy, or hard, or even impossible to solve? Prof. Moore will draw analogies between computation and evolution, and take us from simple puzzles to the heights of universal computation, Turing’s halting problem, and the nature of mathematical truth and creativity.

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