EECS Department Colloquium Series

Computation as a scientific Weltanschauung: The algorithmic lens

As part of the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Miller Institute Fellow Program, the EECS Colloquium has invited former Miller Fellow Christos Papadimtriou to speak.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium)
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Christos Papadimitriou
C. Lester Hogan Professor of EECS, UC Berkeley

Applying the algorithmic point of view to the natural, life, and social sciences often results in unexpected insights and progress in key problems, a mode of research that has been described as "the lens of computation." I will focus on three examples from the life sciences: Evolution of a population through sexual reproduction can be rethought of as a repeated game between genes played through no-regret learning. In an infinite population, selection can take exponential time to converge, if it acts not on single alleles but on combinations. And unsupervised learning of patterns, as well as of grammar, can be achieved spontaneously through certain simple, and plausible, neural primitives.

Before joining Berkeley in 1996, Christos Papadimitriou taught at Harvard, MIT, NTU Athens, Stanford, and UCSD. He has written five textbooks, and many articles on algorithms and complexity, and their applications to optimization, databases, control, AI, robotics, economics, game theory, the Internet, evolution, and recently brain science. He has also written three novels: "Turing," "Logicomix" (with Apostolos Doxiadis) and "Independence" (in Greek). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering, has received the Goedel prize and eight honorary doctorates, and has been both a Miller Fellow and a Miller Professor at Berkeley.

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