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Mathematics and Computer Science — Event

Randomness - the Utility of Unpredictability

Talk by Avi Wigderson (IAS Princeton) on September 19, at 3pm in INF 230 Großer Hörsaal

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Avi Wigderson (IAS Princeton), Recipient of 2021 Abel Prize

Title: Randomness - the Utility of Unpredictability

Time and place: Monday, September 19, at 3 pm, in INF 230 Großer Hörsaal

Abstract: Is the universe inherently deterministic or probabilistic? Perhaps more importantly - can we tell the difference between the two? Humanity has pondered the meaning and utility of randomness for millennia. There is a remarkable variety of ways in which we utilize perfect coin tosses to our advantage: in statistics, cryptography, game theory, algorithms, gambling... Indeed, randomness seems indispensable!

Which of these applications survive if the universe had no randomness in it at all? Which of them survive if only poor-quality randomness is available, e.g. that arises from unpredictable phenomena like the weather or the stock market? A computational theory of (pseudo)randomness, developed in the past decades, reveals (perhaps counter-​intuitively) that very little is lost in such deterministic or weakly random worlds. In the talk I'll explain the main ideas and results of this theory.

The talk is intended for a broad audience, especially for students of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics. No special background will be assumed.

The Abel Prize is, next to the Fields Medal, the most prestigious prize in mathematics. Avi Wigderson and László Lovász were awarded the 2021 prize for their groundbreaking contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics.

Dated: 2022-09-19, sig.: Joos
Last updated on Sep 10, 2022 at 8:09 AM