Moshe Y. Vardi is University Professor and the George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering at Rice University. His research focues on the interface of mathematical logic and computation — inluding database theory, hardware/software dessign and verification, multi-agent systems, and constraint satisfaction. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the ACM SIGACT Goedel Prize, the ACM Kanellakis Award, the ACM SIGMOD Codd Award, the Knuth Prize, the IEEE Computer Society Goode Award, and the EATCS Distinguished Achievements Award. He is the author and co-author of over 750 papers, as well as two books. He is a Guggenheim Fellows as well as fellow of several societies, and a member of several academies, including the US National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Science, and the Royal Society. He holds eight honorary doctorates. He is a Senior Editor of the Communications of the ACM, the premier publication in computing.
What came first, math or computing?
One of the most famous questions in the philosophy of mathematics is whether mathematics is discovered or invented. As Timothy Gowers wrote: “It has been asked over and over again, and it is not clear what would constitute a satisfactory answer.” In this talk I will address this question from the perspective of a computer scientist. I will argue that the developments of mathematics and computing has dovetailed each other for thousands of years: Computing begat math, and math begat computing. Furthermore, both are connected to the real world via one of the most amazing faculties of the human mind: the capacity to abstract.