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The Taub Faculty of Computer Science News and Announcements

Israel Pollak Distinguished Lectures Series 2013: Prof. Bernard Chazelle (Princeton University)
Thursday, April 4, 2013
The Faculty of Computer Science invites you to Israel Pollak Distinguished Lecture Series to be presented by Prof.Bernard Chazelle from Princeton University, according to the following program:

Lecture 1: The Amazing Dynamics of Influence Systems
Monday, April 22, 2013, 14:30
Room 337, Computer Science Taub Building

Imagine a group of interacting agents (eg, people, computers, birds, bacteria) subject to the attracting influence of the agents with which they communicate. Assume further that each agent is entitled to its own, distinct algorithm for deciding whom to listen to when. The communication graph may thus evolve endogenously in arbitrarily complex ways. We show that such an "influence system" is almost surely convergent if the communication is bidirectional and asymptotically periodic in general. This suggests that social networks are more conducive to consensus than are older media like radio, tv, and newspapers. The proof introduces a technique of "algorithmic renormalization" likely to be of broader interest.

Lecture 2: Why Natural Algorithms are the Language of the Living World
Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 14:30
Room 337, Computer Science Taub Building

The glory of 20th century physics was in many ways the triumph of mathematics. Lacking the requisite symmetries, the life sciences of today are unlikely to witness a repeat of this miraculous match. Unlike electromagnetism, for example, cancer will not be explained by a few differential equations. The high descriptive complexity of biology seems to call for a new language --- not a language of equations but of algorithms. The challenge is to find it and then decipher it within the world of biology.

Just as equations are studied via other equations, so natural algorithms must be approached through the lens of other algorithms, which in turn points to the need for an "algorithmic calculus." I'll sketch what such a program might entail in the context of "influence systems," which form a broad family of multiagent dynamics encountered in the living world. (This lecture will be entirely self-contained.)

You are all invited.[Back to the news index]